Veon pledged to spend $600 million over the next three years on infrastructure projects in Ukraine through local unit Kyivstar, with cash set to fund a range of areas including provision of essential connectivity and 4G.
Outside of ensuring availability of communications, the company cited the development of “superior digital services accessible to all”, deployment and community support projects as areas set to be funded.
In a statement the group noted since the start of military action in the country in 2022 Kyivstar performed almost 150,000 repairs to infrastructure, reconnected 800 settlements, upgraded and deployed nearly 10,000 4G base stations and installed 32,000 new batteries to ensure communication during energy black-outs.
It added 93 per cent of Kyivstar’s network is currently operational as a result of its efforts. The company has a mobile base of 24.3 million connections (the country’s largest network) and 1.1 million fixed line users.
Kyivstar has also aided defence against an increased cybersecurity threat and introduced roam-like-home facilities agreed with other operators. The country has infrastructure sharing measures in place and free Wi-Fi in shelters and new settlements.
CEO Oleksandr Komarov said the new cash signified an “acceleration of our investments” adding “at a time when many others are refraining from making future plans, we proudly commit to building back better in partnership with public-sector counterparts and other national and international stakeholders.”
Its future ambitions include an eventual “5G-focused reconstruction” and plans to cover 98 per cent of the population with 4G in the next three years.
Alongside connectivity, it plans to invest in digital projects with vertical industries deemed to “make a positive social impact on the Ukrainian society”.
The investment was announced at the Ukraine Recovery Conference being held in London with Veon’s investment coming under its Invest in Ukraine, Now! campaign, which intends to spur other parties to back the country.