by Emmanuil Mkrtchyan
Crimea's new mobile operator, K-Telecom, a company that came to replace MTS-Ukraine, is owned by Armenia-based Cell Group Worldwide Holding CJSC, reports Vedomosti, referring to Armenia's legal entities registry.
According to the source, the Armenian company belongs to Cell Group Worldwide Ltd, a company with unknown jurisdiction.
Just a week after its registration in Krasnodar in late May, K-Telecom was given MTS's GSM frequencies in Crimea. The initial owner was private travel consultant Anna Berezkina, followed by Nikolay Balashov and finally Cell Group Worldwide Holding.
Vedomosti notes that MTS has K-Telecom subsidiaries in Armenia and Russia but they in the company say that those operators have nothing to do with the Crimean K-Telecom.
According to the source, K-Telecom has launched a one-way technical roaming service for subscribers of Russian operators. So, the holders of MTS sim-cards in Crimea will not be left without communication. Referring to a source in a Russian operator, Vedomosti suggests that the reason the company did it was to convince Russian operators to sign roaming contracts with it.
According to iKS Consulting, as of late 2013 Crimea and Sevastopol had 2.97mln mobile service subscribers. 57% of them were subscribed to MTS- Ukraine, 21% to Kyivstar (Ukrainian subsidiary of VimpelCom Ltd) and 16% to Astelite Mobile (controlled by TurkCell).