According to the director of public relations at Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), Elena Kochanowski, the Russian mobile market leader has no plans to sell a stake in its Ukrainian subsidiary, refuting press reports this week which quoted sources ‘close to shareholders’ as saying that it was exploring options with banks and potential international investors. As cited by Interfax Ukraine, the MTS spokesperson noted that although performance in the third quarter had deteriorated due to the economic situation in Ukraine, the Russian group confirmed its intention to continue to invest in MTS Ukraine, including 3G network development. Commentators warn though that there is the potential for this situation to change if the Ukrainian government restricts access to 3G licences in the upcoming 2100MHz auction. As reported by CommsUpdate, Ukraine has recently clarified that ‘grounds for refusal’ for companies applying to participate in the auction will be based on Ukraine’s ‘Law on Sanctions’ (passed in August), which enables the government to impose sanctions on any companies or individuals (potentially including companies by association with shareholders) which it deems to be supporting Russian separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.
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