2 Jan 2009

Russia's MTS brand to expand beyond CIS footprint

The new year finds me fully focused on preparations for our Russia/CIS Com event in Moscow (2-3 June 2009). Having conducted primary research in December, we will now be concentrating on making sure that the region's major telcos are represented at a high level at this year's gathering. While doing this, I naturally find my eye drawn to stories from Russia when reviewing the various telecoms news sources.

One such, from Cellular News, concerns the planned entry of Russia's MTS brand (mobile market leader with 33.85% of subs according to WCIS) into India. The Cellular News piece notes that "Shyam Telelink, which is controlled by Russia's Sistema has announced plans to use the brand-name of the Russian mobile network operator, MTS in the Indian market. MTS is itself 52.8% majority-owned by Sistema."

The piece continues: "Sistema guaranteed US$520 million of the total US$630 million that Shyam Telelink paid for obtaining its operating licenses. The company recently used a call-option to increase its shareholding in India's Shyam Telelink from 51% to 72% - just shy of the 74% which is permitted under Indian laws."

With this in mind, we will look to encourage Mr Oleg Raspopov, Director of the MTS Foreign Subsidiaries Business Unit to attend our India & South Asia Com event inMumbai in May. Mr Raspopov is already confirmed as a speaker at the event which covers the markets in his home country's most obvious and immediate sphere of influence, the former Soviet republics of Central Asia and the Caspian region. So I look foward to meeting him at Eurasia Com 2009, March 31 & April 1 in Istanbul.