Uzbekistan’s Alokabank has issued a UZS500 billion (USD209.12 million) loan to new Russian/Uzbek mobile operator Universal Mobile Systems (UMS), although the operator has not commented on what the funds will be used for. The cellco is a joint venture between Russia’s Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) and the Uzbek government and will utilise the infrastructure and assets of MTS’s former subsidiary, MTS Uzbekistan (known as Uzdunrobita prior to its acquisition by the Russian firm), which was controversially expelled from the market in mid-2012. UMS plans to begin technical trials of its network on 1 November, with a full commercial launch to follow on 1 December.
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