Tele2 finalised a joint venture in Kazakhstan that opens the door for the operator to offer LTE access throughout all of its markets.
The operator this week announced it has completed the formation of the Kazakh joint venture with Kazakhtelecom, which operates as Altel. In a statement, Tele2 said the combined mobile company has a subscriber base of at least 6 million, and holds a 23 per cent market share.
Tele2 added that the deal was finalised after all relevant regulatory clearances had been received.
Allison Kirkby, president and CEO of Tele2, said the combination "will create a more sustainable and significant player in the market."
The companies have already begun the "process of integrating the businesses", Kirkby added.
In early February, Kirkby said finalising the Kazakh joint venture was the final step in Tele2's move to offer 4G access throughout its operating footprint, as the operator announced the launch of an LTE network in Croatia. "That is a great milestone for the company," she commented at the time.
The companies initially announced the plan to combine their Kazakh mobile operations in November. At the time, Tele2 was the third-largest mobile operator in the market and Altel the fourth. The latter's 4G operating licence was a clear draw for Tele2 -- Reuters noted in November that Altel was the only operator in Kazakhstan with a 4G licence.
Tele2 completed the joint venture process a day after Turkish operator Turkcell made a binding offer to acquire TeliaSonera's direct 24 per cent stake in Kcell, the leading Kazakh operator. That bid was made as part of a broader offer to buy out TeliaSonera's 58.55 per cent stake in Fintur Holdings, which has operations in Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Moldova and Georgia.
The offer appears to tie in with a TeliaSonera strategy to exit the Eurasia region in order to focus more closely on its businesses in the Nordic and Baltic regions.
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