internet access

Problems with the Internet. Subscribers will have to live without the worldwide web until the Crimean market is re-divided

Problems with the Internet. Subscribers will have to live without the worldwide web until the Crimean market is re-divided
Until the Internet is not turned back on, residents of Crimea have time to think and admire the views over long evenings
Photo: Reuters

A number of Internet subscribers in Crimea have found themselves in limbo. As Capital learned, many users of home Internet provided by Kyivstar still cannot find an alternative and are waiting in lines to connect to small local networks.

As a reminder, on August 11, the operator distributed a message that armed individuals appeared in its office in Simferopol, thus forcing the company to suspend the provision of services of mobile communication and the Internet.

Ukrtelecom is not in a hurry to pick up clients

Kyivstar controlled 23% of the Internet access market in Crimea, according to data of IKS-Consulting. The operator provided services in Simferopol, Sevastopol, Yalta, Yevpatoriya, Kerch, Feodosiya, Krasnoperekopsk. Kyivstar was the second largest operator in Crimea after Ukrtelecom (controls 40% of the market, according to IKS). Overall, there are 263,000 subscribers of Internet access on the peninsula.

Ukrtelecom CEO Oleksandr Barinov says the demand for high-speed Internet services on the peninsula increased after Kyivstar suspended its operations. However, Ukrtelecom cannot offer an alternative for subscribers left without means of communication in all places, he says. The fact is that the Ukrainian telecom company has been unable to receive subscription fees from the residents of Crimea since May and has since fallen short of around 4% of its earnings from this region. Therefore, the operator is not rushing to invest into the expansion of its network.

Kyivstar Head of the Corporate Communications Department Petro Ivanov yesterday informed that a solution to the situation in Crimea has yet to be found. “We informed all bodies about this situation, but so far there are no options,” he said. Director for Regulatory and Legal Issues Andriy Osadchuk added that the Crimean network cannot be put back into operation, since, according to the information he has, Russian special services tried to install equipment in it for breaking security of the network, which could threaten the country’s national security.

Datagroup gave subscribes to Rostelecom’s affiliate

The official status of Ukrainian Internet operators in Crimea has not been finalized and the prospects of further operation are quite uncertain, while Russian companies have not yet built their own infrastructure. In summer, Miranda Media, a daughter company of Rostelecom, began providing Internet access services. As its site specifies, these services can be ordered in five Crimean cities so far, including Simferopol, Feodosiya and Yevpatoriya. As the Russian mass media reported in May, the company already spent US $30 mn for purchasing fiber optic networks in Crimea.

As Capital learned, Datagroup already re-registered its Crimean subscribers, including those on home Internet, to Rostelecom’s affiliate based on an agreement on the transfer of rights and obligations for further servicing of clients. According to IKS, Datagroup controlled only 4% of the Crimean Internet market.

When Capital’s journalist called the contact center of Datagroup, he was told that requests on subscription to the service that are received by Datagroup are being transferred to Miranda Media specialists in Crimea. Commercial Director of Miranda Media told Capital that the company is also planning to build its own network in Simferopol and a number of other Crimean cities. The issue of obtaining the rights to the Kyivstar Internet network has not yet been considered, he said.

Capital’s interlocutors believe that besides Ukrtelecom and Miranda Media, another major player will appear on the market, namely VimpelCom (TV Beeline). This is Kyivstar’s sister operator in Russia. Both are parts of the VimpelCom Ltd. group (Amsterdam).

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