Xavier Niel outlined an ambition to create a national telecoms champion in Ukraine, as his investment company NJJ Holding received the regulatory nod to acquire the fixed company he plans to merge with mobile player Lifecell.

In a statement, the founder of Iliad Group and NJJ Holding called the approval to acquire fixed and pay-TV provider Datagroup-Volia a significant step towards his lofty aims in the market.

The investment company is currently in the approvals process to acquire mobile operator Lifecell from Turkcell. Once both deals are complete it intends to merge the businesses to create an entity with almost 10 million mobile subscribers and 4 million homes covered by its fixed network.

Plans include offering triple-play converged services and undertaking “significant investment” on mobile and fixed network expansion to “accelerate future growth”.       

Niel highlighted his business aimed to provide “Ukrainians with safe, secure and reliable telecom services”, adding “Ukraine is home to an impressive tech sector with innovation in AI, a high degree of digitalisation and technological affinity”.

“We are confident that our landmark transaction will serve as a signal to others that the time to invest in Ukraine is now, to support the rebuilding of the country and realise its potential”.

The billionaire added he was confident the sector expertise in other telecoms markets would be a positive to stakeholders and the population.

NJJ Holding is buying Datagroup-Volia from a fund managed by US private equity company Horizon Capital and the fixed player’s CEO Mykhaylo Shelemba, who holds an almost 4 per cent stake. Both current shareholders are set to acquire equity in the combined mobile-fixed entity once created.