Lost in connection

Mobile Phones>> Monopoly ÔÇó Turkmenistan

Published: Monday 30 November -0001

Most of Turkmenistan is now without mobile phone communications and access to the Internet after the country’s biggest mobile service provider, MTSTurkmenistan, fell foul of the government.

The Russian company that services 80 per cent of the subscribers in the Central Asian country informed its subscribers on December 28 that “all communication services will be temporarily halted”.

imageThe company said it had received notification from the ministry of communication regarding suspension of the company’s license. Elena Kokhanovskaya, director of the public relations department of MTS, said Turkmen authorities had not given any reason for their decision. However, news agency Radio Free Europe said MTS-Turkmenistan has been under pressure from the authorities who want to break its nearmonopoly of the mobile phone market.

In December Turkmen custom officials seized a large number of MTS SIM cards and some equipment. MTS-Turkmenistan’s website stated the suspension might continue for a month. The company reassured customers that they would not lose the money they paid in advance for services and contracts. It said subscribers could get a refund if they want to terminate their contracts with it.

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