Russian-owned cellco MTS Ukraine has reportedly resumed talks on the possibility of buying TriMob, the mobile division of Ukrtelecom, according to unnamed sources with knowledge of the situation cited by newspaper Vedomosti, who added that negotiations remain at a very early stage, with due diligence not yet carried out. Ukrtelecom (TriMob) is the country’s only licensed 2100MHz 3G network operator, and currently has approximately one million mobile users. As reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate in September 2013, following the approval of domestic conglomerate SCM’s takeover of Ukrtelecom, negotiations on the sale of TriMob were said to have resumed, with frontrunners identified as Ukraine’s second-largest cellco by users MTS and Turkey’s Turkcell, 45% owner of third-placed operator Astelit (Life:)) which is majority-controlled by SCM, although it was noted that market leader Kyivstar must also be considered a contender. Kyivstar’s director of corporate communications, Michael Shuranov, stated that month that a purchase of TriMob remained ‘one of the possibilities to access the 3G [2100MHz frequencies, most of which are still pending release by the military] which we do not rule out [of] our plans’.
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