Turkcell readies Belarus bid, but value in question

Having already expressed its intention to enter the Belarus market, Turkey's leading GSM operator, Turkcell, has confirmed it will bid in the auction of the state-owned Belarussian mobile operator BeST. However, the suggested price of US$500 million by the Belarus government does seem based more on hope than reality.

According to statistics from the Mobile World, BeST has around 180,000 subscribers. Late last year, Telekom Austria paid US$1.04 billion to acquire a 70 per cent stake in the Belarus GSM network operator, MDC--a company that has around three million customers. Using the same per customer basis, the most that BeST could be worth is just US$72 million.

Apart from its home territory, Turkcell has nearly 10 million subscribers in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Georgia and Moldova through its subsidiary, Fintur Holdings, and 7.6 million subscribers in Ukraine through its subsidiary LLC Astelit.

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