MTS blog

Andrei Ushatsky speaks with Mobile Europe

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Andrei Ushatsky, CTO, spoke with Graeme Neill, editor for Mobile Europe, about technological challenges faced by MTS ahead of World Cap, 5G and IoT boom. Click here to read the full article.

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Vyacheslav Nikolaev speaks with European Communications

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Vyacheslav Nikolaev, CMO, MTS, spoke with European Communications about the need of operators to move away from connectivity-based business models and develop new digital services. While some telco executives are skeptical about entering new verticals, Vyacheslav is convinced that moving into new areas is the right way to go. Click here to read the full article.

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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

At Mobile World Congress 2018 in Barcelona, the world’s largest event for the mobile telecommunications industry, MTS signed an agreement with Ericsson to jointly launch an R&D Center in the Republic of Tatarstan to develop a wide range of innovative solutions based on 5G and IoT technologies. The agreement is a part of the broader strategic collaboration between MTS and Ericsson in the 5G space.

The R&D Center will be opened in the second quarter of 2018 using existing MTS’ infrastructure at the technology park "Innopolis" in Kazan. The first task for the R&D Center is to focus on developing Smart City solutions for Russian urban areas.

The setup of the center assumes that both Ericsson and MTS contribute expertise to the project, including developers, engineers, business analysis and market research. MTS will provide the premises, data center facilities, test environment, additional resources from its Innovation Center, as well as the newly created IoT Lab. Ericsson will provide access to its proprietary technologies (including Ericsson IoT Accelerator, Massive IoT solutions for NB-IoT development), global expertise, educational resources, ecosystem of partners, startups and universities, including consulting support in the form of the Ericsson Cloud Lab in Aachen, Germany, and the Ericsson Garage incubator start-up.

Valery Shorzhin, Vice President, Procurement and Administration, MTS, commented: "MTS is actively preparing its network for the introduction of 5G technologies. We are conducting research both in-house and through partnerships with key suppliers, and continuously testing new solutions. Today, we launch a new stage of our technological cooperation with Ericsson. The launch of a joint R&D Center will significantly accelerate the introduction of innovative products to the market. We hope that the research work of both companies will allow us to bring new developments not only to the Russian, but also to the global market. MTS has the competencies and experience to create innovative products through its own Innovation Center and IoT Lab”.

Sebastian Tolstoy, President, Ericsson (Russia), commented: “Establishing joint R&D Center with MTS at Innopolis is a new phase of our strategic cooperation with MTS in 5G. Ericsson will provide its latest 5G and IoT technologies, global expertise and access to worldwide ecosystem of partners and universities, as well as support of key Business Labs. The R&D Center at Innopolis will become an important part of Ericsson’s global R&D program for the development and launch of IoT innovations to drive large-scale uptake of IoT in Russia and beyond”.

Initially, both companies will create a working group and assemble the technological infrastructure used by the Center. In cooperation with local partners, universities and start-ups, the companies will organize a number of hackathons, focusing on development of Smart City solutions. Subsequently, a joint commission will determine the most promising ideas for building product prototypes. Based on test results, the companies will select the most innovative solutions for practical implementation in 2019.


Thursday, February 22, 2018

Growing customer demand for digital entertainment services, including video streaming and online TV, has stimulated higher sales of more advanced and premium smartphones. In 2017, the strongest trend in consumer behavior was an upsurge in sales of smartphones priced over RUB 40,000. In monetary terms, this category of smartphones demonstrated an impressive growth of 79% y-o-y. The second fastest growing category were smartphones priced at RUB 20,000 - 30,000, showing a 21% increase compared to 2016. In the RUB 30,000 - 40,000 price segment, sales grew by 15%. At the same time, lower-end devices priced below RUB 5,000 saw a 39% decline in sales.

The popularity of premium smartphones also fueled an overall growth in credit sales which increased by 40% in unit terms and by 74% in monetary terms. The average price of a smartphone bought on credit increased to RUB 19,000 (+24% y-o-y). At the same time, customers this year opted for loans repayable over 24 months sixteen times more often than in 2016 – a period corresponding to the average lifespan of a modern smartphone. Purchase costs distribution over a longer period of time allowed customers to choose premium tariff plans with higher data allowance.

Today, an advanced smartphone helps users manage their daily tasks and serves as a single access point for entertainment, replacing several devices – tablet, camera, music player, e-book and banking card. As a result, consumers are increasingly seeking more reliable and faster handsets which boast high-resolution screens, advanced cameras and NFC functionality. For operators this trend means greater data consumption – in 2017, MTS saw an increase of 252% compared to the previous year.

Kirill Dmitriev, Vice President, Sales and Customer Service, MTS, commented: “We are witnessing a turning point in consumer behavior, with smartphones increasingly seen as integrated hubs of digital life. This drives consumers, even those with low income, to buy more expensive devices so they can access heavier digital content everywhere and at any time. More and more of our subscribers prioritize powerful devices that enable them to watch movies, play games, use social networks, post photos and publish stories on social platforms such as Instagram.

Kirill continued, “To keep pace with evolving customer demand, we offer affordable handsets that provide easy access to digital entertainment. Moreover, at MTS, we are actively developing our own digital ecosystem - mobile music, mobile TV and video-on demand. Our menu of services has been enlarged with e-ticketing service as a result of our recent acquisitions of and”

The average smartphone price at MTS retail stores increased from RUB 9,502 in 2016 to 11,846 in 2017 (+24.7%) which is 13% lower than the average smartphone price on the Russian smartphone market (RUB 13,417). The difference is explained by the fact that MTS retail network keeps prices at minimum, offering its customers the option to choose higher-end devices without typical retail mark-ups.

Among the most popular brands were Samsung, Apple and Honor/Huawei, which collectively accounted for the majority of smartphone sales in MTS retail stores. The overall share of the three manufacturers totaled roughly 85.8% of all gadgets sold in 2017. In 2017, Apple demonstrated solid growth of 1.5x both in monetary and unit terms. One of the main contributing factors was a decrease in retail prices; in Q4 2017, for example, the most popular model on the Russian market was iPhone SE 32GB priced at RUB 18,490 in the MTS retail stores, an annual drop of 40% from the initial price of RUB 33,000 in Q4 2016. Honor/Huawei also boosted its sales showing a 285% and 342% growth in unit and monetary terms respectively. These developments negatively affected Alcatel branded smartphone sales which dropped by 64% in unit terms.

Russian smartphone market in 2017

In Russia, the overall smartphone sales in 2017 amounted to RUB 386 bln (+17.3% y-o-y). In unit terms, retailers together sold 28.4 mln devices (+6% y-o-y) and set a new record, exceeding the previous all-time high of 27.6 mln devices sold in 2014.

Samsung remained the most sought-after brand in 2017. The Korean manufacturer’s market share amounted to 25.2% in unit terms (+3.5 p.p.) and 29.2% in monetary terms (+3.5 p.p.). The main driver for such boost in sales was the successful start of Samsung’s flagship models - Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus.

Apple’s market share at the end of 2017 accounted for 12.8% in unit terms (+1.7 p.p.) and 34.4% in monetary terms (+0.5 p.p.).

The third most popular brand was Honor/Huawei. The vendor's market share demonstrated a strong growth and reached 9.6% (+5.3 p.p.) in unit terms and 8.5% (+4.7 p.p.) in monetary terms. Another rapidly growing player was Xiaomi – the Chinese manufacturer entered the TOP-5, most highly demanded smartphone brands in Russia with a market share of 4.1% (+3.5 p.p.) in unit terms and 3.7% (+2.9 p.p.) in monetary terms.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

MTS and other Russian telcos teamed up with Vedomosti newspaper to test Mobile Connect, the leading mobile ID technology, which simplifies the authorization process to access Vedomosti content.  A Vedomosti reader can link his personal website account to his phone number and use it for future login. Piece of cake!

Mobile connect is simple, as you do not need to clutter your head with billions of logins and passwords). It is fast, boasting three-click authorization. And of course it is secure, as all personal data is stored securely. And it is a technology of the future. Initially introduced by GSMA in 2014 as an international project to develop standards for identification based on the subscriber’s phone number, it is spreading throughout the world. Today, more than 100 million people through 62 mobile operators across 30 countries worldwide use Mobile connect. Now it has come to Russia. The commercial launch of Mobile Connect is scheduled for the second half of 2018.

MTS has already implemented a number of GSMA initiatives (IoT Lab launch) and we are happy to offer our clients new opportunities provided by Mobile Connect. This technology will make Internet services - from regular website ID to complex financial products - more convenient, secure and attractive in general.



Tuesday, January 16, 2018

We are entering the gaming market through the acquisition of Praliss Enterprises, giving us the opportunity to own one of the world’s leading eSport clubs – Gambit Esports. This will further distinguish us in the industry as we push the boundaries of digital innovation.
Gambit Esports has four teams (16 players in total) participating in the most popular cyber game disciplines: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO), League of Legends (LoL), Dota 2 and FIFA. Gambit Esports teams have repeatedly earned world and European championship titles, as well as silver and bronze medals, in the largest international competitions. Among other accolades, the Gambit team is the current reigning World Champion in CS:GO Major Championship, an analogue of the Champions League in football, and so far is the only team from the CIS to have become the Major Championship winner of CS:GO.

The club owns a number of exclusive assets, including rights to participate in prestigious international tournaments, its own production of branded clothing and a studio for creating media content (e.g. promos, video tutorials, entertainment stories, etc.) The primary sources of the club’s income are sponsorship contracts, prizes, sales of brand attributes and digital goods, remuneration for participation in leagues, as well as transfer revenues.

Our cybersport strategy includes marketing initiatives, as well as development of new products for gamers and their fans. To achieve these goals, we created a separate eSports division within the company’s Innovation Center. The head of the eSport division will be Irina Semenova, an expert who has amassed 17 years of experience in the gaming industry and is one of the founders of that is currently considered to be one the best cyber sport teams worldwide. The division will also be guided by the CEO of Gambit Esports – Konstantin "Groove" Pikiner who becomes the eSports director of MTS. Konstantin has been in the gaming industry since 2002 and has extensive experience in managing and originating successful eSport projects. Konstantin also actively participated in the development of a number of cybersport clubs, including, k23, Moscow Five in addition to Gambit Esports.

The eSports industry today is a rapidly expanding sector, especially among the younger consumer segments. We intend to utilize the advertising opportunities offered by Gambit Esports in order to further promote our brand, as well as offer sponsorship cooperation to interested corporate partners. Entering the eSports market is also fully in line with our digital strategy, aimed at developing products that lie outside the traditional telecom sector, to push boundaries and innovate. Today, we offer customers more than 25 mobile applications (MTS Taxi, MTS Music, MTS Books, etc.), B2B cloud solutions, data analysis based on Big Data, cybersecurity systems and telemedicine services.

eSports market

Research compiled by Superdata Research, shows that in 2017, the global eSports industry reached $ 1.5 billion and is forecasted to grow up to $ 2.3 billion in 2020. Today, the interest in cyber games is growing exponentially: according to Esports charts portal (website), more than 5.5 million people watched The International, a tournament for Dota 2, an analogue of the World Cup in other sports, in 2016, while in 2017, the tournament gathered around 10 million viewers. The peak audience of the finals of the World Championship in LoL in 2017 exceeded 106 million people simultaneously watching the online broadcast.

Further research from PayPal and Superdata Research indicates that Russia ranks second in Europe as an eSports market (after Sweden) and boasted a value of USD 35.4 mln in 2016. Similarweb data shows that on average there are 780 million global monthly visits to the streaming platform Twitch, on which Russia continuously ranks second or third in terms of traffic volume. In 2016 in Russia eSport was recognized as an official sport discipline with the right to be broadcasted at all federal TV channels.

Our move to the gaming industry was inevitable as we  aspire to be on the forefront of working with industries and technology disruptors that challenge, inspire and innovate.

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

In cooperation with Zetta Insurance Company, MTS insured user’s funds in the MTS Money Wallet from risks of theft by hackers. This is the first of its kind insurance program for e-wallets in Russia and another important advantage of our innovative payment service.

Under the insurance program, user’s funds in the amount up to 10,000 rubles stolen through infection of a user device with malware or social engineering are subject to reimbursement. The insurance is absolutely free for wallet users, as all the costs are covered by MTS.

The insurance program is effective throughout the whole country and covers all authorized users of MTS Money Wallet. If an insured event occurs, a deceived user needs to call to our call center, block his wallet and then reach any MTS store to apply for a compensation. He gets compensation on his account during 10 days after the application.

Today, when virtual fraud and other cyber risks become more real than ever, we find it is necessary to make our MTS Money Wallet not only multifunctional and convenient, but also secure. We integrate cutting-edge software and solutions into our e-wallet to protect its users, the number of which reached 7 million by the end of 2017.




Wednesday, January 10, 2018

MTS compiled some analysis of subscriber activity during the New Year holidays in Moscow.
The volume of mobile Internet traffic grew 2.3 times compared to last year and totaled 45,000Gb in the Moscow region in just the first hour of the New Year. This is comparable to continuously streaming a video file in a state-of-the-art 4K format from January through November!
Messengers demonstrated the greatest increase in traffic by increasing 3.5x compared to last year's New Year’s celebration.  Subscribers sent and received more "heavy" content such as animated pics, video and audio files. The growing popularity of live streaming in social networks led to the fivefold increase in upstream traffic compared to last year.
Meanwhile, the volume of voice services on New Year's Eve in Moscow declined about 4% year-over-year. Traditionally, the most active locations in terms of mobile Internet and voice usage are at Red Square and Tverskaya Street, as well as Victory Park and VDNKh. The number of congratulatory SMS’s decreased 16% year-over-year, though this channel of communication remained extremely popular for many subscribers.
MTS’s network in Moscow successfully coped with the stress of New Year's Eve. The uninterrupted work of our communications infrastructure is the result of continued investments in network infrastructure and the team’s expertise in planning and network configuration.
Muscovites used all possible digital tools for New Year's greetings in 2018 - from "vintage" SMS to HD video calls and streaming in social networks. In total, on New Year holidays from December 31, 2017 to January 8, 2018, MTS subscribers used more than 9Pb of mobile Internet, made 407 million calls and sent 54 million SMS.



Wednesday, January 10, 2018

MTS has just become the first Russian telecom operator to fully implement Ultra HD (4K) broadcasting on all of its TV platforms. In early 2017, we introduced Ultra HD technology to satellite customers. We are now launching 4K interactive TV technology,  for all our cable customers, including GPON users.

MTS teamed-up with the Chinese manufacturer ZTE  to provide best-in-class cable network equipment for our subscribers. ZTE will supply UltraHD set-top boxes with enhanced functionality, including a built-in Wi-Fi-module, Bluetooth-remote control as well as support for HDR10 and HLG technologies . These interactive set-top boxes will be available to our subscribers from April 2018, to coincide with the eve of the World Cup.

The new interactive broadcasting format  gives impetus to the development of the Russian TV market as a whole, stimulating customer demand and opening new enhanced opportunities for owners of high-quality content. We expect that the World Cup 2018 will become a catalyst for the development of high-definition broadcasting and increased creation of high-quality TV content for the Russian audiences.

We intend to use a single platform with Ultra HD broadcasting support to increase our presence in the premium segment and primarily for corporate clients. We expect the the UltraHD set-top boxes to be particularly attractive to the Hotel/Restaurant/Café segment organizations, who will be screening the games from the forthcoming World Cup 2018 for their clientele.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

MTS launched the Open IoT Lab in Moscow to demonstrate and trial a wide range of IoT solutions, bringing together IoT suppliers and customers to further stimulate growth in the market. It is the first of its kind in Russia based on NB-IoT (Narrowband-Internet of Things) technology and launched under the GSMA Mobile IoT initiative.

The MTS Open IoT Lab is an innovation space, where our corporate customers, partners and suppliers can explore current and future IoT-enabled solutions in a wide range of fields; from water consumption metering to city lightning management. The Lab serves as a showcase for the effectiveness of various pilot and commercial fragments of IoT-networks utilizing numerous sensors and devices that transmit data to clouds for further processing. The devices are managed and controlled through tablets and laptops, with visual reporting shown on large screens.

The IoT Lab presents the results of our cooperation with a number of vendors. The central part of the showcase is a test NB-IoT network in the 800 MHz, 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands with four pilot products based on Nokia technologies: smart home solutions, smart city infrastructure monitoring and management, energy consumption control in housing services, and physical facility security systems. There is also a test NB-IoT network based on Ericsson solution for housing and communal services.

The adoption of the NB-IoT standard by regulators will further accelerate the commercial launch and rollout of IoT solutions across Russia. Due to the greater available network capacity, energy efficiency and high sensitivity offered by radio modules, the new standard will allow to connect multiple IoT devices to one base station, even in difficult conditions of signal passage and without the sensor battery replacement for several years. MTS is well prepared for the fast approaching connected future and has a wide portfolio of innovative IoT products and services for B2B customers, including solutions for smart home and smart city, monitoring and security, as well as production processes management and others.

Calling to “Explore IoT”, our Lab serves not only as a showroom for MTS IoT products in action, but also as a real laboratory to rise tomorrow’s IoT products. It is designed to provide our partners and device manufacturers wishing to accelerate the development of connected devices with access to our facilities at no cost. They can bring their early stage projects or solutions to our Lab for testing and receiving first-hand operational experience. MTS IoT experts are also available in the Lab for support.

“Today’s announcement serves as yet another illustration of MTS digital-focused strategy. With the launch of the Open IoT Lab, MTS reinforces its commitment to develop the IoT ecosystem in Russia. By providing reliable connectivity and working together with our partners and device manufacturers, we can accelerate the future of the Internet of Things. As next steps in the IoT development, we will strengthen our presence in the IoT segment through open source platforms, cloud apps and the introduction of IoT Platform fit for any scale. We believe that the IoT evolution will benefit individuals, businesses and entire economics by escalating connectedness, removing physical barriers, and harnessing Big Data,” said Kirill Dmitriev, Vice President, Sales and Customer Services, MTS.

"Today, we present a comprehensive infrastructure of the Internet of things using commercially available standardized solutions and open interfaces. The implementation of this project will allow MTS to become the centre of the Russian ecosystem of IoT, combining many developers and applications in various sectors of the economy. The opening of the MTS IoT laboratory is the next step in implementing agreements between our companies in the development of IoT and 5G, "said Demetrio Russo, Vice President, Eastern Europe, Nokia.

“There is a real sense of momentum behind the roll-out of Mobile IoT networks across both NB-IoT and LTE-M with 29 global launches around the world to date. This is underpinned by a growing community of over 25 open labs supporting operators, equipment manufacturers and vendors to trial new technologies,” said Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer, GSMA. “We welcome today’s announcement as it provides innovative Russian companies with the opportunity to trial new products and services using LPWA networks and accelerate their time to market.”


МТS leadership and pioneering on the Russian IoT Market

· MTS is the pioneer in M2M field in Russia. MTS was the first operator to introduce the first M2M tariff plan. It was also the pioneer to launch Smart Metering service.  

· MTS is the leader in the Russian IoT market in terms of telematics SIM-cards. According to AC&M Consulting, our market share in 2016 was 43%. 

· MTS regularly expands and actively promotes its portfolio of IoT products and services in Russia:

o In 2009, MTS offered the first M2M solution for vehicle monitoring;  

o In 2011, MTS launched the M2M Manager service to set and control multiple IoT devices;

o In 2016, MTS and Nokia tested the first complex IoT solution and NB-IoT in Russia; 

o In 2017, MTS launched the IoT Platform with an open API for different IoT solutions for enterprises, including "Smart Metering" service.

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Recent Tweets

Follow me, Josh Tulgan, MTS Director for Corporate Finance and Investor Relations, on twitter

Twitter March 19, 15:04
#MTS FY2017 Grp Rev +1.7% Grp Adj OIBDA +6.2% NProf +15.6% FCF +52.2% RUS Rev +2.9% UKR Rev +6.8% RUS OIBDA +5.7% UKR OIBDA +36.6 $MBT $MTSS

Twitter March 16, 22:16
RT @eurocomms: MTS taps majority shareholder for new CFO

Twitter March 15, 19:41
@Rudnit And on our networks they will roam!

Twitter March 14, 10:50
#Russia is the largest #cybersport market in Europe $58 mln @PayPal, @_SuperData, #e sport через @ru_rbc

Twitter March 14, 10:33
Andrei Ushatsky, CTO, speaks with @mobileeurope about #5G, #WorldCup2018, #IoT $MTSS, $MBT

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