Central Federal District of the Russian Federation
Competitors: MTS, VimpelCom, Megafon
For September, 2010 Sky Link provides services in IMT-MC-450 technology to more than 9 thousand localities in 36 subjects of the Russian Federation. In total Sky Link services over 1.2 million subscribers, including users of other companies, Uralvestky in Yekaterinburg and area, Apex in Chelyabinsk and area, CenterTelecom in Yaroslavl, Ivanov, Kostroma, "Northeast telecommunications" in the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic working under this trademark.
In September, 2010 it became known that Sky Link the MHz and 2120–2125 MHz for a dual-band cellular transmission network of the IMT-MC (CDMA-2000) standard in the territory of the Moscow and Northwest regions received the solution of State Radio Frequency Commission (SCRF) on selection of radio frequency bands of range 2.1 Ggts1920-1933. Before the company provided services based on IMT-MC-450 technology (CDMA-2000 1x in the range of 450 MHz). Receiving radio frequencies of the range of 2.1 GHz makes available to Sky Link more broadband frequency resource that allows the company to provide full services of cellular communication of third generation (3G). Thus, in Moscow and St. Petersburg for the first time in Russia the fourth player in the market of services 3G appears. MTS companies, VimpelCom (Beeline) and MegaFon have licenses and radio frequencies of 2.1 GHz for provision of services 3G in all territory of Russia in the WCDMA/UMTS standard.
According to the CEO of Sky Link Gulnara Hasyanova, more low-frequency range (450 MHz) will be used by the operator for providing a covering with network of large territories in the Moscow region and in the Northwest, and more high-frequency range (2.1 GHz) — in places of the maximum traffic, i.e. directly in Moscow and St. Petersburg. In 2011 the company intends to begin sales of the cell phones working in two frequency ranges — 450 MHz and 2.1 GHz.
At the beginning of 2010 SCRF made the decision without tender to select radio frequencies of 2.1 GHz to those companies which already provide services in IMT-MC-450 technology. Therefore Sky Link has a chance to receive these frequencies everywhere where it has operating IMT-MC-450 networks, and to become the strong contender of "the big three" what the limited frequency resource of the range of 450 MHz did not allow earlier.
At the end of 2009 Internet traffic volume in Sky Link network was more than 2 500tb that exceeds 80% of total amount of traffic in 3G networks in the Russian Federation.
The analyst of Uralsib estimated Sky Link at the amount not much exceeding a debt of the operator (makes about $600 million), and Unicredit Securities — at $50-150 million over a debt.
Board of Directors
At the extraordinary general shareholder meeting Sky Link Ltd which took place on December 1, 2010 the new structure of Board of Directors of the company as a part of 5 people is elected. The board of Sky Link Ltd was joined by the following representatives of JSC Svyazinvest:
- Herman Nadezhda Evgenyevna is the director of the department of wireless communication
- Golubitsky Bogdan Ivanovich is the executive director-department director of economic planning and budgeting
- Erofteeva Ekaterina Sergeyevna is the executive director-department director of strategy and development
- Kolesnikov Alexander Vyacheslavovich is the head of department of asset management of corporate management department and legal support
- Semyonov Vadim Viktorovich is a CEO.
The chairman of the board of directors of Sky Link Ltd Semyonov Vadim Viktorovich, the CEO of JSC Svyazinvest is elected the solution of Board of Directors at the first meeting which took place today on December 1, 2010.
Structure of the company
As of June, 2010 the structure of the Sky Link group included three levels of management: "Corporate Center" (CC), "Business unit" (BU) and Branch. Corporate Center determines the strategy of the company by all functional directions. In the business units created by the macroregional principle management of activity of regional branches is concentrated, MVNO projects the Business unit Partners manages. In the companies of group the single system of planning and the reporting, technical and tariff policy and uniform contact center for service of subscribers works.
In 1991 the company was the first in the Russian market of cellular communication.
in 2004 Sky Link of the first brought to the market new service "the mobile Internet" and 3G-modems.
"System" undertakes to transfer to Svyazinvest and its "subsidiary" – Rostelecom – 25.1% of stocks of Svyazinvest and 100% of stocks of Sky Link. In exchange 23.3% of stocks of "Moscow City Telephone Network" belonging to Svyazinvest are transferred to System, and from her "granddaughter" – Comstar-United Telesystems – is written off debt to state Sberbank in the amount of 26 billion rubles. Offered the scheme to the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications. The Ministry of Finance at the beginning of 2009 set a condition: exchange of assets between the state and System should be cashless.
As within exchange preparation Sky Link received from Ernst&Young assessment in 9.75 billion rub, and the transferred share block of MGTS was estimated cheaper – at 9.3 billion rub, System will be forced to pay in addition to Svyazinvest 450 million rub ($14.7 million).
Consolidation of 100% of stocks and joint-stock debts of Sky Link cost AFK "Sistema" $168.5 million, – told, answering a question of CNews, on September 15, 2010 the vice president of corporation Anton Abugov. These means went to the redemption of a half of stocks of the operator from the "St. Petersburg" group of operators and also the debts of the operator to group. Redemption of stocks and debts of Sky Link was made for the purpose of further transfer of the operator to Svyazinvest holding, at the same time a term of transaction is disposal of the operator of debts to shareholders – for Sky Link they will be paid by holding.
Taking into account above-mentioned $168.5 million, the total costs of AFK "Sistema" within the transaction with Svyazinvest holding by this moment made $183.2 million.
On September 10, at the request of Svyazinvest the debts of the operator issued in the form of bills of exchange were renovirovana (the number of bills of exchange is reduced). Now the independent appraiser should make assessment of debts to transfer to their Svyazinvest. Depending on what will be applied discount in relation to debts of Sky Link the issue of will be resolved whether will have to AFK "Sistema" pay extra to the former partner in Sky Link (the "St. Petersburg" group of operators), Abugov says.
The matter is that debts of Sky Link before "St. Petersburg" were also redeemed with discount. What, in System do not open. It is known only that System spent 1.386 billion rub ($48 million) for purchase of a debt. The source familiar with the transaction gave number in 40%. Respectively, as it appears from Anton Abugov's words if discount which will apply Svyazinvest for payment of debts of Sky Link to System, is less discount which was applied by System at the debt buyback of mobile operator at the "St. Petersburg" group, the difference will be paid in addition "St. Petersburg" at the expense of AFK "Sistema".
Earlier in Svyazinvest confirmed that debts of Sky Link to System will be paid by holding, but before it they will be discounted and spread. The source close to the transaction spoke about seven years. In total the joint-stock debt of Sky Link was about $160 million, about $200 million more the operator approximately equally owes suppliers and banks.
The deal is going to be closed at the beginning of October, 2010. If it breaks that the "St. Petersburg" operators will be able to return themselves a share to Sky Link – they conclude the option for share repurchase of 50% of stocks of the operator.
2012: Rostelecom buys Sky Link
As of July, 2012 50% of stocks of Sky Link belong to Svyazinvest holding, the operator through "subsidiary" - Astarta holds other shares. At the beginning of July, 2012 the Board of Directors of holding recommended to sell Sky Link to Rostelecom (its largest shareholder is Svyazinvest) for 9.4 billion rubles Rostelecom will pay acquisition of 1.91% of own stocks.
As a result in July, 2012 full control over Sky Link was received by Rostelecom company - the largest universal telecom operator.
Sky Link renders services of cellular communication in CDMA-450 standard, but the operator is of the main interest to Rostelecom because of the frequencies which are available for it in the range of 2.1 GHz. Initially they were issued also for CDMA technology, however then the operator got permission to use them for technology of third generation of cellular communication of UMTS which is applied by three largest cellular companies – VimpelCom, MTS and MegaFon.
Starts of 3G-networks of Rostelecom at frequencies of Sky Link will begin in the III-IV quarters 2012. Equipment suppliers are already selected: Ericsson and Huawei will become them, and they will supply the equipment both for construction of the new 3G-networks, and for upgrade existing at Rostelecom in a number of regions of networks of the second generation of the GSM standard. Thanks to Sky Link, Rostelecom will be able to construct 3G-networks and where it has no GSM, including Moscow and St. Petersburg.
The standard of CDMA "Rostelecom" intends to use not for full-fledged networks of mobile communication, and for solution of the problem of "the last mile" in rural areas. The corresponding project was begun last year in the Kostroma region, recently it was continued in the Stavropol and Krasnodar regions. Advantage of the range of 450 MHz – the large territory of service, besides in fixed connection is absent the need for a good selection of exchange service stations. New mobile terminals in the CDMA standard, Shvaybovich said earlier, Sky Link is not going to deliver. What will do Rostelecom with one more asset of Sky Link, the GSM license for territories about 40 regions, in the company do not open yet.