Sweden-based operator TeliaSonera is to acquire Alem Communications, a WiMAX operator in Kazakhstan, for €138 million and has also made a €28.5 million investment in Kazakh network operator KazTransCom.
The two moves will enable the international operator to prepare for mobile data growth in Kazakhstan as it will gain additional spectrum and backhaul capacity.
According to a report in Telecoms.com, it's unlikely that TeliaSonera will be pursuing a WiMAX strategy: instead the operator is interested in getting its hands on Alem's 2.5/2.6 GHz spectrum portfolio, which is technology neutral.
For KazTransCom, TeliaSonera has reached a deal with Visor Group that will see both companies take minority stakes in the company, which owns a nationwide fibre network in Kazakhstan, according to a Dow Jones Newswires report. TeliaSonera's subsidiary in Kazakhstan, Kcell, has also signed a five-year lease agreement for backbone capacity with KazTransCom. TeliaSonera also has the option to subsequently increase its indirect ownership in KazTransCom.
TeliaSonera, which already has an extensive footprint in Eastern Europe, said earlier this year that it was open to acquisitions, and is clearly looking for a good price for any deal it undertakes. The acquisition of the 2.5/2.6 GHz spectrum in Kazakhstan would open up the possibility for the operator to launch LTE services in the country, with additional backhaul support from the KazTransCom deal. At present, Kcell provides 2G services in the 900 and 1800 MHz bands and 3G services in the 2100 MHz band.
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