July 17, 2012 / 7:01 PM / 7 years ago

MTS halts services in Uzbekistan for 10 days

MOSCOW, July 17 (Reuters) - MTS (MBT.N), Russia’s top mobile phone operator, has stopped providing services in Uzbekistan after local authorities suspended its licence.

In June, Uzbekistan launched a tax claim of nearly $1.3 million against MTS, part of oil-to-telecoms conglomerate Sistema (SSAq.L). The government also detained several senior managers, deepening MTS’s growing problems in central Asia.

Uzbekistan’s state inspectorate for communications said on its website on Tuesday that MTS’s license had been suspended for 10 days due to “numerous and systematic violations, breaching orders from the regulator”.

MTS said the suspension of its Uzbekistan business licence was groundless.

Uzbekistan’s move echoed a dispute between MTS and Turkmenistan in 2010, which forced the Russian company to write off around $140 million.

(Reporting by Alexander Gelogaev; Writing by Andrey Ostroukh; Editing by Dan Lalor)

((andrey.ostroukh@thomsonreuters.com)(+7 495 775 1242)) Keywords: MTS UZBEKISTAN/HALT

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