Tuesday, August 14, 2012 -
Sweden-based telecoms group TeliaSonera said Tuesday it has negotiated a deal with Kazakh firm Alem Communications to acquire its WiMax next generation wireless broadband technology operations for $170 million.
The telecoms giant said the statement it is also in the process of investing $35 million for a minority holding in Kazakh network operator KazTransCom.
Both deals require regulatory approval by Kazakhstan’s financial authorities.
The Swedish firm currently owns Kazakhstan’s largest mobile operator Kcell with a subscriber base of 11.7 million customers.
“These important transactions … will be crucial for Kcell’s continued leadership in the rapidly growing mobile data sector and reaffirm our strategic commitment to developing mobile technologies and services in Kazakhstan,” said Tero Kivisaari, president of the Eurasia business area for TeliaSonera, in the Tuesday statement.
TeliaSonera will also be able to expand its holdings in KazTransCom, which owns the country’s fiberoptic network system.
Last April, an investigation by a Swedish TV station revealed damning evidence that TeliaSonera participated in human rights violations by operating high-tech surveillance equipment on behalf of former Soviet authoritarian regimes to spy on their citizens.
The TV station said the surveillance gear has been used by the governments in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Georgia, Belarus, and Azerbaijan to spy on political opposition figures, union leaders, and journalists, leading to the arrest and prosecution of some.
A TeliaSonera spokesman defended its actions by saying the firm needed to follow the laws of the countries it is in.