Uzbekistan Suspends MTS’s License

• Category: Uzbekistan
(Interfax) – Authorities in Uzbekistan have announced the suspension of the operating license of a Russian-owned mobile communications company for 10 days. It is the latest difficulty for the Uzbek subsidiary of Russia’s largest mobile operator, Mobile TeleSystems (MTS).

Officials say MTS-Uzbekistan has been responsible for a series of technical violations, and its operations will be suspended beginning on the evening of July 17. According to the MTS, the suspension could affect millions of Uzbek mobile phone users. An MTS statement said the firm has some 10 million clients among Uzbekistan’s population of 28 million.

Uzbek officials last month criticized MTS-Uzbekistan’s managers brand for poor service and using cell phone towers without proper authorization. Reports say Uzbek prosecutors have also filed criminal cases against company officials on charges of fraud.

“MTS believes the suspension of its Uzbek company’s license is unreasonable and violates the rights of the foreign investor provided in domestic and international legislation,” the Moscow-based company said in an e-mailed statement. It also said that as of July 17 the company had fully complied with the instructions and orders of the Uzbekistan telecommunications authority, including those relating to the appropriate use of base stations and fiber-optic communications. The company said the actions of the Uzbek authorities may be interpreted as “baseless attacks on the business of the Russian investor.”