You only live twice: UMS launch kicks off MTS’s second attempt to crack Uzbekistan

1 Dec 2014

Universal Mobile Systems (UMS), a joint venture of Russia’s Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) and the Uzbek republic, via the Centre for Radio Communication, Broadcasting and Television (CRBT), has launched commercial mobile services, UzDaily writes. The cellco utilises the infrastructure and assets of MTS’s defunct subsidiary MTS Uzbekistan (also known as Uzdunrobita), which was controversially forced to close down in 2012. UMS’s new network is based on GSM, W-CDMA and HSPA+ technology, although no coverage details are currently available. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in July 2014 the Russian group signed an agreement with the Uzbek government to relaunch mobile services in the republic. Under the agreement, MTS said it would drop legal proceedings against the republic in the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), and establish a new joint venture split 50.01/49.99 between MTS and the Uzbek government. In the wake of the deal, MTS confirmed that UMS would begin technical trials from 1 November, with a full launch taking place on 1 December.

UMS offers three tariffs for private subscribers and two for corporate customers, as well as two data-only pre-paid packages. ‘Start’ is the basic pre-paid offering, costing USD0.1 per day and including 100MB of data but no call time or SMS. The middle option, ‘Maxi’ costs USD15 per month and features 1,000 minutes of calls and 600MB of downloads. Finally, the premium ‘Absolut’ plan costs a hefty USD150 per month, but includes unlimited data and national calls and SMS. Meanwhile, the two data plans cost USD5 and USD10 for 300MB and 1GB of downloads respectively.

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