Wednesday, July 18, 2012 -
Over 9 million people have been left with no phone or internet service since the Uzbek government suspended the license of mobile operator MTS, an independent Uzbek source said Wednesday.
There is now a massive demand at other mobile service providers as Uzbek residents scramble for communications services, Uznews.net reports. Lines have swelled for MTS competitors Beeline, Perfectum, and Ucell.
The lines have blocked major thruways in the Uzbek capital Tashkent, Uznews.net notes.
Competitors have also extended their store hours to accommodate the huge demand.
Customers of MTS were taken by surprise when the Uzbek government rescinded the firm’s operating license on Tuesday.
MTS, a Russian company which operated a subsidiary firm in Uzbekistan, has already been through the wringer in Central Asia, having experienced a similar situation in Turkmenistan in December 2010. MTS claims to have lost $160 million after the Turkmen government rescinded its license for no clear reason. MTS announced in May that it had negotiated a deal with the Turkmen leadership to return to the country.