VEON Ltd., a global digital operator that provides converged connectivity and online services, today announced that it will invest, through its subsidiary Kyivstar, equivalent of USD 600 million in the recovery of Ukraine over the next three years. The investment will span Kyivstar’s infrastructure projects, ensuring essential connectivity and 4G services throughout the country, the development of superior digital services accessible to all Ukrainians, and community support projects.
The investment pledge is announced as a part of the international Ukraine Recovery Conference in London on June 21st and 22nd with a focus on mobilising international support for Ukraine's recovery and reconstruction. Launching its “Invest in Ukraine, Now!” campaign, the company invites all international and national stakeholders to consider investments in Ukraine today, in order to accelerate the country’s reconstruction.
“The past 16 months have shown the world that communications are indeed the lifeline of Ukraine. With the dedication of our 4000-strong team, and the support of our parent company VEON, Kyivstar has been central to Ukraine’s resilience and recovery since the very morning of February 24th, 2022,” said Oleksandr Komarov, CEO of Kyivstar.
“Today’s sizeable investment commitment signifies not only a continuation of our track record, but also an acceleration of our investments. 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. We would like to invite other companies to invest with the same enthusiasm to contribute today to the future Ukraine.”
As the country’s largest telecommunication company, Kyivstar has been at the forefront of Ukraine’s resilience, maintaining essential connectivity for its customers – currently 24.3 million mobile and 1.1 million fixed-line users. In partnership with fellow operators, it enabled Ukrainians to remain connected to their home country with roam-like-home offers, currently serving 2.5 million mobile customers in roaming. Equally importantly, Kyivstar services also benefited the wider Ukrainian population through measures including infrastructure sharing with other operators, and providing free Wi-Fi to shelters and new settlements.
To enable the continuity of services, Kyivstar technical teams have skilfully performed nearly 150 thousand repairs with twice the intensity compared to the pre-conflict period, reconnected 800 settlements, upgraded and deployed nearly 10,000 4G base stations, and installed 32,000 new batteries to ensure continuity of communication during energy black-outs. With these efforts, 93% of Kyivstar’s network is operational, enabling critical communications services that continue to sustain Ukraine’s society and economy.
The company’s work also includes supporting the cybersecurity of Ukraine, defending the cyber space against DDoS, phishing and malware attacks which intensified by 200%, 300% and 400% respectively in 2022 as compared to 2021.
The USD 600 million commitment signifies an acceleration of Kyivstar’s investments in these areas in the coming three years, and will enable the continuation and expansion of these services. The new investments in network expansion – starting with ‘LTE everywhere’ and fiberization, and eventually leading to 5G-focused reconstruction - will mean higher quality internet coverage for millions of users. With the planned expansion of 4G networks, Kyivstar plans to cover 98% of Ukraine’s population in 4G in three years’ time, including in small and remote settlements.
The investments will accelerate the digitalization of the country with essential digital services as well as connectivity. Kyivstar currently serves Ukraine with a significant portfolio of digital solutions supporting the provision of essential services such as information dissemination, mobile education, and mobile health. The company recently invested in in Ukraine’s leading digital healthcare provider, Helsi, which serves a registered base of 25 million customers, not only users of Kyivstar but of all operators. The USD 600 million investment will partially be used to support further development of these services, as well as new investments into digital verticals that will make a positive social impact on the Ukrainian society.
Another pillar of Kvivstar’s support to Ukraine has been charitable support, which leverages the capabilities inherent to its business as a digital operator and a focus on giving back to the society. Since the onset of the conflict, Kyivstar supported Ukrainians with humanitarian donations amounting to UAH 1.1 billion – roughly USD 32.5 million. Within the scope of its investment pledge, Kyivstar will continue to work with leading Ukrainian NGOs and social initiatives, supporting charity projects with donations and with socially responsible business partnerships.