11:23 / 11.02.2021
Russian Megafon enters the Uzbek market

USM Telecom and MegaFon together with partners from Uzbekistan are creating a joint venture – Digital Holding, which is intended to become the technological leader of the largest telecommunications market in Central Asia.

Photo: Andrey Rudakov /Bloomberg

The newly created joint venture will include the leader of the telecommunications market of the country Ucell, as well as USM’s Uzbek assets CRPT Turon and ICS Holding Uzbekistan.

The Government of Uzbekistan, through the State Assets Management Agency, will transfer 100% of the authorized capital of the Ucell telecom-operator to the joint venture. The Russian side will contribute $100 million to the Digital Holding as well as the subsidiaries of USM – CRPT Turon and ICS Holding Uzbekistan.

To enter the joint venture, USM Telecom and MegaFon created the company “Digital Invest”, in which shares were distributed 50% on both sides. In the new JV, “Digital Invest” will have 51% of the shares, while State Assets Management Agency – 49%.

After the deal will be finalized in 2021, Digital Holding will focus on the development of telecommunications infrastructure in accordance with international standards in order to increase access to and quality of telecommunications services in Uzbekistan, the introduction of advanced technologies and systems for information security and data storage, labeling and movement control of selected commodities.

“The creation of a leading player in the market of digital services of Uzbekistan is in line with the strategies of both MegaFon and USM Telecom, which is to build a technology leader in the CIS and Eastern Europe. We are confident that the long-term expertise of MegaFon, CRPT Turon и ICS Holding in the implementation of digital projects will help to develop the largest industry player in Uzbekistan,” said the CEO of USM Telecom Ivan Streshinsky.

“In terms of consumption of digital services, Uzbekistan is one of the most promising markets in the CIS, having shown a more than threefold increase in mobile subscribers over the past 10 years, yet still remaining far from saturation. We are not planning major structural changes within Ucell in 2021, we will rather focus on finding synergies and implementing best practices in it to grow its business,” MegaFon CEO Gevork Vermishyan noted.

“I am sure that the creation of a new joint venture will give a new impetus to the rapidly developing digital services market of Uzbekistan and will open new opportunities for Ucell and its subscribers,” Olimjon Umarov, advisor to the Prime Minister of Uzbekistan, said.

USM Telecom is a digital division of the USM holding company and controls 100% of the MegaFon telecom-operator and IT group “ICS Holding”. The main owners of USM Telecom are USM (80% of shares), Ivan Streshinsky (10%) and Anton Cherepennikov (10%).

MegaFon is a national Russian digital operator that occupies a leading position in the telecommunications market. MegaFon works in all segments of the TV market in Russia, as well as in the republics of Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Tajikistan, traditionally pays special attention to the quality of communication services and provides its subscribers with high-speed internet.

“ICS Holding” is a Russian multi-profile IT group, which includes 30 companies, united in five sub-holdings - YADRO, Nexign, “Citadel”, ‘Kryptonite” and “ForPost”. Priority areas of activity of the holding are digital transformation of large enterprises, information security, data storage systems, cryptography and quantum computing, machine learning and neural networks, technologies of blockchain and artificial intelligence. The holding is the largest supplier of IT for communication operators and is part of the Top-3 largest IT developers in Russia.