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Belarus Mobile Users, January 01, 2008 Belarus Mobile Users, April 01, 2010

Turkcell's Belarus unit aims for 1/3 market after '09

Author: Reuters


MINSK, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Belarussian mobile phone operator BeST, 80 percent owned by Turkey's Turkcell, aims to corner a third of the market after 2009, bringing it close to the top two operators, the company said on Wednesday.

Turkcell agreed to pay $500 million to buy the 80 percent stake and another $100 million in the first year that BeST shows a net profit and agreed to invest $500 million in the company's development over 10 years.

The largest operator in the country of 10 million is MTS, 49 percent owned by Russia's MTS and 51 percent owned by the state. This operator has 4 million customers.

The second largest with 3.5 million customers is Velcom, controlled by Austria Telekom.

Turkcell's BeST has just 200,000 customers.

"We first aim to equally share the market with the two other operators and then win the market share, but I cannot give a time frame for this target," the company's general manager, Ozcan Ermis, said. (Reporting by Andrei Makhovsky; writing by Sabina Zawadzki and Ron Popeski)

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