Sunday, June 21, 2009

New National WiMAX Operator in Russia Gets Funding

Icon Private Equity, one of the largest investment funds in Russia, announced plans to invest $200 million into the development of a new national WiMAX operator. New networks will be deployed in the "digital divide" regions, where broadband internet availability is presently insufficient. The fund plans to launch the operator's commercial services by October 2009 and intends to cover a population of 20 million by the end of 2009. The service will be offered to both individual subscribers and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The operator company will capitalize on both the growth of internet usage in Russia's regions, and its ability to bring to market easy-to-use WiMAX wireless products - similar in price and quality to fixed-line products.

Icon said this investment is a part of its broader strategy of becoming the major WiMAX operator across the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), a strategy that has already seen the group invest $100 million in UHT, a WiMAX operator in Ukraine.

Huawei Technologies Ltd was awarded a contract for supply of the equipment for the new network. Additional funding for network deployment will be provided in a form of loans from China's leading financial institutions.