Ukraine needs $1.8 billion to rebuild telecommunications sector, says official

18 January, 04:03 PM
Mobile operators restored 1,200 base stations and built more than 1,500 new stations (Photo:Dylan Carr \ Unsplash)

Mobile operators restored 1,200 base stations and built more than 1,500 new stations (Photo:Dylan Carr \ Unsplash)

Ukraine needs $1.79 billion to rebuild telecommunications infrastructure damaged in more than 10 of Ukraine’s 24 regions due to Russia’s invasion of the country, head of the State Special Communications Service Yurii Shchyhol said at a press conference on Jan. 17.

He said the overall availability of mobile communications in Ukraine was about 77% as of the morning of Jan. 17, as many base stations in regions where active fighting continues are not operating.

“For comparison, after the first massive missile attacks by the Russians, this indicator was about 40%, so this indicates an increase in the stability of our networks,” Shchyhol said.

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He said that more than 20% of the base stations operating in Kherson Oblast before the full-scale invasion had been restored after the region’s partial liberation from the Russian invaders.

According to Shchyhol, the rest of the territory of Ukraine has at least 70% availability of mobile communications from the number of base stations.

The official noted that Ukrainian mobile operators were promptly restoring communication and ensuring the stability of their networks.

“The operators are providing backup power not only to base stations, but also to all network’s subsystems – that’s tens of thousands of objects,” Shchyhol said.

“So far, all key elements of operators’ networks are preserved.”

Since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion, mobile operators have restored a total of more than 3,200 kilometers of fiber optic lines. Also, they have restored 1,200 base stations and built more than 1,500 new stations. In addition, over 8,000 stations have been upgraded.

The agency said that investments in the development of mobile networks in 2022 would amount to at least UAH 8 billion ($218.7 million).

The State Special Communications Service also emphasized that the infrastructure of information and communication technologies in Ukraine had become one of the main targets of enemy attacks, in particular cyber-attacks, since Feb. 24, 2022.

In particular, 1,123 cyber-attacks aimed at all sectors of Ukraine’s economy, including IT and telecommunications, were recorded in just six months of full-scale war.

Earlier Olga Ustinova, CEO of mobile operator Vodafone Ukraine, said that voice calls and SMS services will continue to work in some locations if there is a full blackout for several days, but there will be no mobile Internet.

In turn, Oleksandr Komarov, CEO of mobile operator Kyivstar, speculated that the network may only provide point coverage, in which mobile communication would only be partially available.

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