VEON Holding confirmed its intention to invest $600 million in the company of the largest mobile operator ” Kyivstar” despite information about the seizure of shares of its corporate rights in Ukraine.
“We are committed to the idea of restoring Ukraine with the use of the most modern advanced technologies to ensure sustainable development in the future. Our company strives to be the ideal foreign investor in the country and this goal remains unchanged ,” VEON CEO Kaan Terzioglu said during his visit to Kyiv.
According to the head of VEON, in addition to the investment of $600 million in the development of the telecommunications infrastructure of Ukraine over the course of three years, Kyivstar has already paid almost UAH 20 billion in taxes and fees to the state budget during the full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation. In addition, the amount of donations made by ” Kyivstar” to the aid projects of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and to charity has already reached over UAH 1.4 billion.
“We have a mission. We formed it on the first day of the war and are devoted to it: to save Ukraine, to help people. It’s us doing all these 600+ days of full scale war. The question of whether to invest in Ukraine or not has never arisen for us: we invest because we believe in victory. “Kyivstar” has built more infrastructure since the beginning of the full-scale invasion than all our competitors combined. From the first days until now, we are convinced that “Kyivstar” exists if Ukraine exists. “Kyivstar” develops if Ukraine develops. “Kyivstar” will be successful only together with Ukraine ,” said the president of ” Kyivstar” Oleksandr Komarov.
He noted that the company’s network works, providing 97% of mobile coverage, at the pre-war level.
VEON’s investment — $600 million will be directed to the development of the network, modern technologies and improvement of communication quality in Ukraine.
The companies plan to further develop LTE technology. ( Long Term Evolution is a wireless network with increased requirements and bandwidth from 10 Mbit/s). As part of the ” LTE everywhere” project, the implementation of which has already begun, by 2026 the level of LTE coverage will be 98%, which will significantly improve the quality and speed of the Internet for consumers.
To reach the indicated indicator, “Kyivstar” will build hundreds of new sites ( sites), including greenfield. Actively building new sites during the full-scale invasion, the company has already brought their number to pre-war levels.
“We really build many times more than our competitors – more and faster. Despite the loss of 7% of the network due to the full-scale invasion of the Russian Federation, today we serve the same number of sites as before the war. We have already completely restored the part that we lost ,” Komarov emphasized.
He noted that LTE technology will be key in the next 5-7 years.
” Kyivstar” is developing PON technology, a modern technology of high-speed data transmission via fiber-optic communication lines, which provides for the connection of all subscriber devices through one optical cable and makes it possible to simultaneously use several telecommunication services: the Internet, television and telephone.
In cooperation with the Rakuten Group innovation development company Rakuten Symphony, the Ukrainian mobile operator is implementing a project to build and implement the Open RAN technology applied to 5G in Ukraine.
Currently, a joint laboratory has been launched where Open RAN technology will be studied. At the second stage of the project, a pilot will be implemented in the form of a small segment of the network using Open RAN technology based on 10-15 sites – in the amount needed by a small town. The third stage is the scaling of the technology to build 5G in the future. The first developments in the direction of “Kyivstar” were promised to be presented already in 2024, and in two years the company will have a live segment of the network that will be able to work in test mode.
Ukraine deserves the best 5G network in the future, emphasized VEON. The telecommunications giant considers the implementation of Open RAN technology to be a significant step into the innovative future, as it is currently the “best, most secure and most efficient architecture.”
” Kyivstar” continues to develop the ecosystem of services for patients in the field of health based on Helsi. Investments of up to $10 million are planned in this direction. Helsi is actively developing telemedicine services, which were already used by more than 1.1 million people in the first half of 2023. In the near future, it is planned to launch a function that will allow patients to track test results in the application and sign up for seasonal vaccination. Since the beginning of the year, new services have been introduced in Helsi: urgent medical consultations, chat with a doctor and exchange of medical documents online, search for nearby doctors and medical facilities, vaccination calendar, service for obtaining medical certificates.
All the mentioned projects are implemented with the investment of $600 million from VEON, which the parent company directs to the development of ” Kyivstar”.
VEON and Kyivstar emphasized that the Ukrainian mobile operator carries out operational activities without obstacles, implementing investment projects, despite the situation with the seizure of a share of corporate rights.
As reported, on October 6, 2023, with reference to the court decision, which neither VEON nor Kyivstar has yet received, information about the “seizure of 100% of Kyivstar’s corporate rights ” was published on the websites of a number of government departments. Later, this information was found to be false, and it was reported that the package of seized corporate rights had been reduced to 47.8%. This decision was made in order to prevent access to the company’s assets by Russian sanctioned persons who are the owners of shares of one of the minority shareholders of VEON ( LetterOne company).
VEON CEO Kaan Terzioglu emphasized that the specified sanctioned persons have ” zero” influence on VEON and Kyivstar. Even at the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion, they were removed from any access to the company’s assets or management mechanisms.
In connection with the situation, a delegation of VEON, which is the 100% owner of Kyivstar , arrived in Ukraine this week . Kaan Terzioglu, Chief Executive Officer of the VEON Group, and Ogi Fabela, co-founder and Honorary Chairman of the VEON Board of Directors, have planned meetings with Kyivstar employees, business partners, government representatives, as well as partners in the implementation of humanitarian initiatives for Ukraine – the Come Back Alive Foundation and Lviv Medical Center ” Nezlamni”. During the meeting with the staff of Kyivstar, VEON’s management expressed concern over the information about the seizure in Ukraine of a share of the corporate rights of the subsidiary.
In particular, Terzioglu said that the American investors of VEON appealed to the US senators regarding the seizure of Kyivstar’s corporate rights . Investors see such actions as a negative signal, given the huge support provided by American taxpayers to Ukraine in its resistance to Russian military aggression. VEON investors from the UK and EU countries also share this concern and have sent letters to their governments asking for clarification.