Turkcell Acquires Belarus Mobile Operator

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Turkey-based mobile operator Turkcell has agreed to acquire 80% of Belarus's state-owned mobile operator BeST for $500m.

Turkcell will acquire 80% of BeST, with 20% remaining with the government. The company will make the payments in three installments, of which $300m will be paid within 30 days. The remaining $200m will be paid in two equal installments in December 2009 and December 2010.

Turkcell said the acquisition will allow it to expand into a fast-growing market. Belarus's mobile market is relatively unsaturated and only 65% of people use mobile phones compared to 88% in Turkey.

MTS Belarus, in which Russia's MTS holds 49% stake, is the largest player in the market with approximately 4 million subscribers, followed by Velcom, which was acquired by Austria Telecom last year. BeST is the third largest.

Turkcell chief executive Sureyya Ciliv said: "We believe we can use our complementary skills we gained in Ukraine and CIS very effectively in Belarus to differentiate BeST as soon as possible."



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