Veon subsidiary Kyivstar upgraded approximately 4,000 4G base stations in Ukraine last year.

As part of its full-year 2023 financials, the telco revealed it had increased its 4G user base in the country to 14.3 million.

Kyivstar is rolling out more 4G coverage – Getty Images

Revenue grew eight percent year-on-year (YoY), while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) also increased by 8.1 percent. Veon said the increase was mainly due to an increase in 4G penetration.

However, revenue slumped by 3.3 percent during the fourth quarter of last year, with Kviystar blaming this on a cyberattack, which resulted in a temporary disruption of its network and services in December.

Last year, Amsterdam-based Veon committed to invest $600 million into Kyivstar's 4G infrastructure, amid the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia.

During a recent investor call, Kaan Terzioğlu, CEO of Veon Group, reflected on the telco's strategy to depart Russia in favor of supporting Ukraine.

"When the Russia-Ukraine war started, we made a choice. We chose Ukraine," he said. "Our exit from Russia resulted, as you can see, in full-year results in a very different Veon. We might be more compact in terms of balance sheet, half the size, but today we are a much faster-growing company with a very healthy balance sheet."

Terzioğlu added: "We are fully committed to Ukraine. We stand with our choice. The Ukrainian people and their future is our future, our people. We are a vital provider of communication and we play a critical role in ensuring digital services to the country. We remain actively engaged with Ukrainian officials."

Veon finalized its exit from Russia in October, after it agreed to sell its Russian business unit to a group of senior members of the PJSC VimpelCom (Beeline Russia) management team led by PJSC VimpelCom CEO Alexander Torbakhov.

Kyivstar reported a CapEx increase of seven percent year-on-year during 2023, while the telco said it reconnected 190 communities to its 4G network in 2023, 15 of which were reconnected multiple times.

The war has led to the destruction of more than 4,000 base stations across all operators, plus 60,000 kilometers of fiber optic lines, while 12.2 percent of households have lost access to mobile services. Rival telcos Vodafone and Lifecell have told DCD previously that it's not uncommon to repair or replace base stations at the same site multiple times.

The company also said it's made improvements in its network resilience, through upgrading many sites to battery powers, which it claims could last up to 72 hours in the middle of a war.

Kyivstar has more than 24 million mobile customers, and more than 1.1 million home Internet customers.