STOCKHOLM, Nov 4 (Reuters) - Sweden’s Tele2 and state-controlled Kazakhtelecom said on Wednesday they would combine their mobile businesses in Central Asia’s biggest economy, a highly competitive market.
The joint venture between Tele2 and Kazakhtelecom’s Altel comes against a backdrop of a year-long price war involving all four major mobile players in Kazakhstan.
“This transaction will enable our customers to gain access to Altel’s 4G network and to benefit from its accelerated rollout across Kazakhstan,” Tele2 CEO Alison Kirkby said in a statement, whereas Kazakhtelecom said the deal would expand its network coverage.
The new business formed by Tele2, the country’s third biggest mobile operator, and the number four, Altel, the country’s only operator with a 4G license, will have more than 5.6 million subscribers and a market share of around 22 percent, Tele2 said.
By the end of the third quarter Tele2 had 4.4 million subscribers in Kazakhstan.
In the first nine months of 2015, Kazakhstan accounted for 7 percent of Tele2’s group sales and 1 percent of core profit.
The biggest mobile player in Kazakhstan is Kcell, controlled by Sweden’s TeliaSonera, followed by Beeline, owned by Russia’s Vimpelcom.
To read Tele2’s statement, click on (Reporting by Sven Nordenstam and Olof Swahnberg; editing by Niklas Pollard)