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Russian Cellular Operator To Return To Turkmenistan

Russian cellular operator MTS is on the way to resuming its business in Turkmenistan, almost 18 months after it suspended operations.

The chairman of the holding company that owns MTS, Vladimir Yevtushenkov, said on Turkmen television that a deal was reached May 2 between the company and President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov.

MTS began operations in Turkmenistan in 2005 but suspended its business in December 2010 when its five-year license expired and was not extended by the Turkmen Communications Ministry.

The quality of the firm's mobile services was criticized by the Turkmen leader, who also ordered the government to create "at least three nonstate mobile operators" and promised state preferences to joint ventures with foreign companies.

MTS had proven popular among Turkmen for its marginally better service compared to state telecommunications firms.

Based on reporting by AP and ITAR-TASS

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