Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), Russia’s largest mobile-phone company, have announced their plans to introduce 3G telephone services in several key cities. Faster wireless services will give users quicker downloads and new capabilities, such as mobile television.
Earlier this month MTS announced their plans to launch 3G in Moscow by 2009 but they have now added 4 more cities. The service has started in St. Petersburg, giving it the honor of becoming the first 3G enabled city in Russia but MTS have announced “technical readiness” to launch in Sochi, Kazan and Yekaterinburg. The network will be extended to more than 10 cities this year and to 40 cities by the end of 2009.
The company said it planned to spend 38 billion rubles ($1.61 billion) over the next three years on 3G development.
“With the launch of 3G networks in major regions of Russia, MTS is starting a new phase in the development of telecommunications” in the CIS, Mikhail Shamolin, chief executive of MTS Russia, said in the statement. The new network provides a download speed of 3.6 megabits per second, 10 times faster than 2G EDGE technology, the company said.
The company plans to spend 38 billion rubles through 2011 in Russia and forecasts it will have 11 million subscribers for 3G services by 2011. The services may add $2.5 billion to its revenue from 2008 to 2011, according to company data.
Russia has a particularly high mobile penetration rate. Although some reports put this figure at over 100%, more realistic analysts point to the facts that many people have multiple SIM cards and operators are slow to remove prepaid accounts from their books, one of the most common forms of account in Russia.
** Untitled by Andrew, one of the artists who make their work under a Creative Commons license at Flickr – thank you!