What is 'YaKS'? New MTS?

What do the new billboards in Tashkent with YaKS written on them mean? Uznews.net’s Uzbektelecom source reports that a change in mobile operators is being prepared.

YaKS billboards have been seen around Tashkent for several months now but there is no explanation of what they actually refer to.

The billboards’ fine print says that it is a new trademark. Telephone calls made to the number listed on the advertisement remain unanswered.

Internet rumors vary from detergent to juice to green tea to a new Internet provider.

One version of the rumors – that it refers to a new mobile phone operator – are particularly prominent.

Swedish Tele2 appeared in a similar manner in Kazakhstan in 2011.

An anonymous source in Uzbektelecom reports that these speculations are indeed correct. YaKS is replacing the Russian MTS, which owned one hundred percent of the Uzbek mobile operator, Uzdunrobit, and was forced out from the market, and the country, last year.

The Uzbek government since then has unsuccessfully tried to liquidate Uzdunrobit’s holdings. The company’s assets and its fourteen branches are estimated to be worth 510 million USD and have been offered up to auction three times since June of this year. No buyers have expressed interest.

The news agency Prime reported that Uzdunrobit’s credit holders have also refused offers to purchase the ownerless mobile phone operator. On August 12 the company’s creditors made a decision to transfer their financial responsibility to local government authorities, which means that MTS has been fully nationalized in Uzbekistan.

Today there are four mobile operators in Uzbekistan – Beeline Uzbekistan (former Daewoo Unitel), Ucell (former Coscom), UzMobile and Perfectum Mobile