Veon inked a deal to sell a 49 per cent stake in Kazakhstan-based telecoms infrastructure provider TNS Plus to its JV partner, the DAR Group of Companies, as part of a strategy to slim down assets and prioritise investments in its local Beeline operation.

In an announcement, Veon CEO Kaan Terzioglu explained the agreement forms part of the company’s objective to become asset-light and place more attention on its Beeline subsidiary and the services it offers.

The executive branded Beeline as “Kazakhstan’s digital powerhouse”, providing services that stretch from m-payment system Simply to content streaming platform BeeTV. Beeline’s software business QazCode also leads an “AI-first approach” in the market, Terzioglu added, pointing to an intention to focus more deeply in this area.

In a recent interview with Mobile World Live, Terzioglu spoke of a long-term plan to invest in AI for a wide range of services in the markets it operates.

The TNS Plus stake sale is subject to regulatory approval, and Alidar Utemuratov, CEO at DAR Group, said the asset transfer will allow it to boost investment in “growing telecommunications infrastructure assets and digital innovations”.

TNS Plus provides a breadth of services including voice and data transmission, internet access, IP VPN and digital channels to operators and business clients, having invested heavily in Kazakh’s fibre infrastructure for the last 17 years, “connecting all major cities and neighbouring countries”, said Utemuratov.