Russian operator says Turkmentelekom cut its access to international and long-distance services; is working with regulators to extend its licences

MTS has suspended its operations in Turkmenistan due to a dispute with the country’s state-owned incumbent over connectivity.

The Russian operator said it was forced to stop operating at midnight on Friday due to the actions of Turkmentelekom, which disconnected its international and long-distance services and cut Internet access.

The telco did not provide any further information on the reasons behind Turkmentelekom’s move.

However, the tone of its announcement suggests it sees the suspension of operations as a temporary glitch.

MTS said it is in ongoing negotiations with regulatory authorities and state-owned companies in the country "in order to extend permission to use frequencies, as well as other certain resources, necessary to provide telecommunication services in Turkmenistan."

The company confirmed that its licence to provide communications services in the country expires on 26 July 2018.

The Turkmenistan operations accounted for just 1.15% of group revenue last year and 1.06% of adjusted OIBDA, at 260.2 million manat (€64 million) and TMT93.7 million respectively, the telco said.

It served 1.7 million customers as of the end of June.