Thursday, May 03, 2012 -
Russian mobile service provider MTS will return to Turkmenistan, the head of the company said in a statement broadcast on Turkmen television Thursday.
Turkmen citizens will be able to use MTS services in the repressive state within the next three to six months, the Associated Press (AP) news agency reported MTS head Vladimir Yevtushenkov as saying.
MTS was forced out of the country last December, when the autocratic Turkmen government without warning yanked the company’s permit to work within the country. MTS says it lost $160 million, as it provided services for 2.4 million Turkmen citizens.
“A year and a half ago, MTS stopped working in Turkmenistan due to the expiration of its license,” AP quoted Yevtushenkov as saying on television.
“Both MTS and, I think, the quality of communications suffered in Turkmenistan because of that.”
Turkmen subscribers to MTS were forced to flock to the state-run mobile phone service Altyn Asyr, which proved incapable of handling the influx.
MTS railed against the Turkmen government publicly, arguing that its license to operate was pulled with no warning and for no reason, and urged other businesses to stay out of the repressive state.