Kcell to test market for Kazakhstan fibre network

By:
Alan Burkitt-Gray
Published on:

Kcell is talking to Veon’s Beeline, Kazakhtelecom and Transtelecom for fibre network as data demand booms

Kazakhstan operator Kcell is planning to go to the market to look for alternative providers of nationwide long-distance fibre networks.

The business, in which Telia Company has a 61.9% stake, wants to compare alternative providers with the current service it receives from Kazakhtelecom, according to CEO Arti Ots.

“There three nationwide networks, including Kazakhtelecom,” Ots told Global Telecoms Business in an interview. The others are Veon’s Beeline, which already has a mobile network sharing deal with Kcell, and Transtelecom, part-owned by the country’s rail network – it is unrelated to Russia’s Transtelecom, which has a similar heritage.

“We could also build a fibre network ourselves, but that’s unreasonable because there are already three nationwide fibre networks,” said Ots. His preference is for Kcell to lease fibre provided by one of the three networks.

The interview with Ots and company chairman Jan Rudberg will be published in full in the July/August issue of Global Telecoms Business.

Kcell, whose shares are quoted on stock exchanges in Kazakhstan and the UK, wants a new fibre deal because of the rapid growth in data, said Ots, who has been CEO since early 2015.

“Data is growing exponentially and our own fibre network is the only way to carry this traffic. Without our own, we would get into a situation where we didn’t have enough capacity. There might be a bottleneck. Our own network would give us flexibility.”

Kcell sees data volumes tripling in three years from existing customers, and it is adding new 4G customers, “so if you add the new customers it will go up six times. Netflix and YouTube are using the highest capacity.”

Telia is trying to sell its stake in Kcell as it is unravelling its central Asian investments, but it has made no announcement so far.