Kazakhtelecom JSC, Kazakhstan’s state telco, has agreed to sell its Mobile Telecom Services (MTS) mobile network to Qatar’s Power International Holding (PIH).

An agreement in principle was signed on Friday in Qatar by PIH, Kazakhtelecom JSC, and Samruk-Kazyna, Kazakhstan’s sovereign wealth fund which owns the telco. The signing took place as part of a state visit to Qatar by Kazakhstan’s president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

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Kazakhtelecom is selling its MTS mobile network – Kazakhtelecom

Financial terms have not been finalized according to Gulf Times, which first reported the story, but PIH will take full control of the mobile network once the deal goes through.

"We are satisfied that such a reputable and stable company as PIH acts as a strategic investor,” said Kuanyshbek Yessekeyev, chairman of the Board of Kazakhtelecom JSC. “It is very well known in Kazakhstan, has many projects in our country and all of them are quite successful."

Kazakhtelecom has owned MTS, not to be confused with the Russian telecoms firm of the same name, since 2019.

In total, the MTS network - comprising the brands Tele2 and Altel - has seven million customers and is part of a consortium installing 5G base stations across Kazakhstan to improve the country’s network. Last year, 800 base stations were installed, taking the total across Kazakhstan to more than 7,000.

Kazakhtelecom also owns another mobile network, Kcell, but has been running them as two independent companies to satisfy concerns from regulators about how this impacts competition in the market.

In July, Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Digital Development said that Kazakhtelecom would sell at least one of the mobile units, and it decided to part with MTS at a meeting of the State Commission on Economic Modernization held in January.