Icon Private Equity plans to invest $200 million into the development of WiMAX networks in Russia's regions," said Kirill Dmitriev, the fund's Managing Partner.
Kirill Dmitriev announced that the networks will be deployed in the "digital divide" regions, where broadband internet availability is presently insufficient. The fund plans to launch the operator's commercial services by October 2009 and intends to cover a population of 20 million by the end of 2009. The service will be offered to both individual subscribers and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The operator company will capitalize on both the growth of internet usage in Russia's regions, and its ability to bring to market easy-to-use WiMAX wireless products - similar in price and quality to fixed-line products. This investment is a part of Icon's broader strategy of becoming the major WiMAX operator across the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), a strategy that has already seen the group invest $100 million in UHT, a WiMAX operator in Ukraine.
Huawei Technologies Ltd was awarded a contract for supply of the equipment for the new network. Additional funding for network deployment will be provided in a form of loans from China's leading financial institutions.
Sergei Avdeev, former Executive Vice President of VimpelCom, is appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of the new company.
"The Russian government takes unprecedented steps to support foreign direct investments in the innovative industries and creates an easy path for the inflow of funds to the Russian economy," concluded Mr. Dmitriev.
Icon Private Equity is a leading private equity fund in Russia and Ukraine with over $1 billion under management.
The fund invests in fast-growing companies in the financial, telecommunications, retail, media and IT sectors in Russia and the CIS. Icon's mission is to achieve effective partnership with market leaders that would significantly increase their value.