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Monday, August 21, 2017

Rostelecom to put mobile spin-off to vote

Executives at Rostelecom, Russia's leading long-distance telephony provider, are scheduled to meet this week to vote on plans to spin off its mobile assets before a possible merger with VTB Group's Tele2 Russia.

Regulatory filings detail a plan that will see the telco's cellular assets hived off into a newly formed entity called RT-Mobile, Bloomberg reports.

The meeting will also see company executives determine the price for buying out minority shareholders who do not support the move.

The Federal Antimonopoly Service has cleared a plan by Rostelecom to buy Sobinbank, a unit of Rossiya Bank, which is owned by St. Petersburg Yuri Kovalchuk, a longtime associate of President Vladimir Putin.

Earlier this month, Rossiya Bank acquired a stake in Tele2 Russia, and the latest deal could be seen as a strategic move by Rostelecom ahead of the projected merger. Rostelecom has suggested in the past that it is interested in buying a bank to develop mobile banking, online payments and microfinance services, according to Bloomberg.

Rostelecom has also reportedly deployed an LTE base transceiver station in the town of Naryan-Mar, the operator's first LTE cell site beyond the Arctic Circle. The BTS, which covers a five kilometer radius, was supplied by Swedish vendor Ericsson and utilizes the 2600MHz band.

Rostelecom, which serves more than 100 million subscribers in 80 regiona, offers cutting-edge fixed and mobile telephony, broadband access, pay television and cloud solutions to consumers and businesses.