Ukrainian telecoms regulator NCCIR published an announcement on its website on 14 October 2014 disclosing that it has approved amendments to the procedure for the upcoming auction of three 2100MHz 3G mobile licences. The watchdog clarified that ‘grounds for refusal’ for companies applying to participate in the auction will be based on restrictions imposed on companies and individuals under Ukraine’s ‘Law on Sanctions’. TeleGeography notes that in August 2014 the Ukrainian parliament passed the Law on Sanctions to impose sanctions on 65 Russian companies and 172 individuals (of Russia and other countries) said to be supporting/financing separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. The NCCIR’s latest announcement means that Russian-backed MTS Ukraine and Kyivstar will not be categorically blocked simply for having significant Russian ownership, contrary to earlier disclosures from Ukrainian cabinet sources, but on the other hand it throws both cellcos’ 3G licence eligibility into doubt if any of their shareholders/associates appear on the Ukrainian government’s current sanction list.
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