Veon to invest $600 mn in Ukrainian subsidiary Kyivstar

Veon said it would invest $600 million in the telecoms infrastructure of its Ukrainian subsidiary Kyivstar.
Kyivstar UkraineThe Amsterdam-listed company said the funds would help upgrade the mobile operator’s infrastructure, including improving connectivity and 4G services throughout Ukraine.

The country has seen much of its mobile infrastructure hit by Russian rocket attacks. Kyivstar’s technical teams have performed nearly 150,000 repairs since Russia invaded last year, Veon said. Iit ensured that 93 percent of the network is operational.

“We are using this opportunity to make a bold statement about our commitment to invest,” Kyivstar CEO Oleksandr Komarov told Reuters.

He said the investment, which will be spread over the next three years, would expand the firms 4G network coverage to 98 percent of Ukraine’s population, but also start making it “5G ready” for once the war is over.

Kyivstar has lost around 7 percent of its active customer base – or roughly 1.7 million subscribers – since the war started last February. That is because some parts of the country are now controlled by Russia and no longer use its network, but also because others have left Ukraine altogether.

Last November, Veon announced it would sell its Russian business, Vimpelcom, to a group of the unit’s senior managers, led by its CEO Aleksander Torbakhov, for 130 billion roubles ($2.2 billion).

The process has proved complicated and it has struggled to get the required clearances from a number of countries to repatriate money from the sale.