Tuesday, July 10, 2012 -
The Uzbek subsidiary of Russia’s Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) said on Monday it has been ordered to temporarily switch off the signal of more than 200 of its transmission stations.
Uzdunorbita, the subsidiary, said Uzbekistan’s State Inspection of Communication (SCI) gave the order Saturday after running an extensive investigation into the firm’s operations.
In a notice on its web site at mts.uz the firm warned its customers in Uzbekistan that “network equipment will be temporarily switched off” and to expect “temporary interruptions and impairments” to its mobile network service in some areas.
The the restriction will affect less than 10 percent of all the base stations, as the company has more than 3,000 in the country, MTS spokeswoman Valeria Kuzmenko told the Dow Jones Newswires in Moscow on Tuesday.
The company “will do our best … to not let it affect the quality of communication,” she said.
SCI said its investigation revealed that MTS was operating fibre-optic links between its base stations without the proper authorization of the local inspection board.
The Uzbek authority said that the permits to operate the 208 base stations, now shut down, have expired and must be renewed for operations to resume.
"We are surprised by the totality of inspections, the format of which goes against the laws of the republic,” Kuzmenko told Russia's Vedomosti newspaper.
“Such a complete and aggressive format of pressure makes us think of the true reasons behind the current situation."
Last year, MTS faced a complete shutdown in Turkmenistan after authorities canceled its contract to operate in the country, and is only now considering returning to the reclusive state.