MTS blog

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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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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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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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Vyacheslav Nikolaev, Vice President for Marketing, MTS, recently gave an interview to Bloomberg in Moscow. Vyacheslav talked about the company’s new digital services such as MTS Taxi. Slava also disputed reports that price wars had resumed in the Russian telecommunications market. Click here to read the full article at the Bloomberg's website. 

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Tuesday, December 05, 2017

MTS is the first mobile operator in Russia to launch an integrated IoT platform on national scale. Our IoT platform provides an integrated solution to manage objects embedded with network connectivity and pro-actively monitor IoT-enabled equipment performance. The platform has an open API (application programming interface) and supports various data networks. Accordingly, our clients’ existing equipment and IT systems can be directly connected with up-to-date sensors, cameras, robots and programs. The objects connecting to the platform can be managed from a single center, regardless of their location, which will be of substantial benefit to many of our clients in Russia who have operations in the areas that are traditionally difficult to reach.

MTS is the first mobile operator in Russia to create an IoT platform of this scale. Having pioneered the Machine-to-Machine communications in Russia with the introduction of the first M2M tariff, we are confident that this new offering will be in strong demand by the market.

Developing our own IoT platform is another step in the MTS strategy to be the go-to provider in helping business customers adapt quickly and efficiently to the fast-changing requirements of the digital economy, reduce their costs and bring their operations to a new level. For government customers, our IoT platform can become a driver for development of smart cities, smart grids and intelligent transportation.

In addition to being the largest telecom company in Russia, MTS has consistently been the clear leader in the Russian IoT market by number of connected devices. In the coming years, we will strengthen our presence in the IoT segment through open source platforms, cloud applications and the introduction of the Internet of things at any scale - from small stores, to large factories, cities and federal networks.

Our IoT architecture can support equipment across a variety of industries including manufacturing, energy and diversified service companies. The platform is also applicable for integrated IoT solutions for agriculture, logistics, commercial real estate and other businesses. Our equipment monitoring system allows our clients to anticipate wear-and-tear as well as potential malfunctions before the deterioration reaches a critical stage. Notifications can be sent via the client’s computer system, but also by SMS and e-mail. This will substantially reduce cost of maintenance and prevent losses related to equipment failure.

The platform also includes an integrated and comprehensive “Smart Metering” solution, replacing an earlier system using telematics enabled M2M SIM cards. MTS is a pioneer among Russian telecom operators to launch this service. One of the real business cases is the implementation of Smart Metering from MTS for a vegetable storage. Our solution allows our client to control the temperature and moisture level in the boxes where the vegetables are stored. As a result, the customer is confident in the storage conditions and the percentage of spoilage has decreased.

Cyber security is always at the core of all our technological innovation. Connected to secure communication channels, our IoT sensors and controllers can send data to a fully protected MTS cloud, where they are processed in real time and then sent to secure cloud storage. Equipment monitoring and reports generation can be done in a web user interface or in standard programs by connecting them to the MTS IoT platform using API procedure. MTS IoT platform uses secure SSL and HTTPS encryption protocols, as well as a network antivirus and a cyber threat protection center.


MTS in the IoT market 

MTS is the leader in the IoT market in Russia in terms of the number of telematics SIM cards, according to AC&M research in 2016. MTS is also the first telecommunications company in Russia that regularly promotes the IoT-based product portfolio in the national scale. In 2009, MTS offered its customers the first telematics solution for vehicle monitoring. In 2011, we launched "M2M Manager" solution, which allows any device in real time to configure and monitor the MTS network, the work of various M2M-equipment. In 2016 and 2017, MTS tested NB-IoT and LPWAN technologies and deployed the IPv6 architecture on the network, which allows almost unlimited number of devices to be connected to the Internet.

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Thursday, November 30, 2017

MTS has become the first company in Russia to partner with Microsoft to offer Azure hybrid cloud services for corporate clients across the country.

The integrated Microsoft Azure Stack system, hosted in MTS data centers, will allow business customers to create modern hybrid applications combining the capacities of our local data services with global cloud functionality. Furthermore, we will offer Russian B2B clients a choice of where to deploy their new virtual machines and store data - in their own or partner data center within the territory of Russia or in a global cloud.

 The solution allows business customers to use the latest technologies in full compliance with Russian corporate requirements for IT security, as well as to enjoy enhanced applications with high response speeds, giving the opportunity to create a real hybrid cloud and be a platform for hyper-convergent infrastructure. 

Microsoft Azure services and Azure Stack facilities on MTS will be available to Russian business customers in commercial operation from the beginning of 2018. We will provide all the key global Azure services, with localization in Russia, including Iaas, PaaS, Big Data, various types of storage, hybrid variants of redundant, fault-tolerant virtual data centers, lease of licenses and other services that our  corporate clients demand. 

Vladimir Khrenkov, Director for Innovation Development, MTS comments on the deal: "Demand for virtual products is steadily growing by 20-35% each month. Our customers are interested in creating hybrid systems. Every other company that asks us for virtual infrastructure services also requests the possibility of interaction between the resources of private and public clouds. The partnership with Microsoft will allow MTS to meet the customer’s demand and expand the range of its own cloud solutions for the corporate segment."

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

We launched our own taxi service. The MTS Taxi App is a fully integrated service including key functions such as pre-trip price calculation, real-time car monitoring, a list of favorite addresses, a driver evaluation function and a space to provide feedback. On top of the basic e-hailing services, a customer can call a taxi for a precise time, order a baby seat, or arrange a meet-and-greet, as well as a number of other options. 

What makes our taxi different from other providers is that our subscribers can pay with MTS bonus points that they receive for using MTS’ broad range of products and services.

Although this is a competitive market, we are confident that the quality of service and high levels of customer convenience put us in an advantageous position to explore a new revenue opportunities, while improving our customer loyalty.

MTS Taxi service is launched in partnership with Citymobil, one of the largest taxi operators on a revenue-sharing model in Moscow and St. Petersburg. 

By launching a taxi service, we made another strategic move into the digital space and continue to expand our ecosystem of apps surrounding our core mobile business. Today, there are more than 25 MTS-branded apps, including our self-care app MyMTS, content services MTS TV, MTS Music, MTS Press, MTS Books, and MTS Kids. 

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

MTS has successfully transferred British American Tobacco Russia’s (BAT Russia) IT systems to the MTS cloud.

The operator implemented a comprehensive project to provide a cloud-based IT infrastructure (Infrastructure as a Service). The project involved reallocation of the BAT Russia key IT systems to the cloud platform #CloudMTS in Moscow as well as organization of the secure network access to these resources. In addition, MTS provided a disaster-proof configuration of IT system using the backup site in the MTS data center in St. Petersburg.

Dariya Grishina, Director, Information Technology, BAT Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, the Caucasus and Central Asia region, commented: 

"Migration to the cloud will help BAT Russia improve the economic efficiency and transparency of its IT infrastructure management, creating a platform for further expansion and growth. This project allowed us to reduce the time required to deploy infrastructure for new projects from a few months to two weeks".

According to Dariya, MTS successfully responded to all of the challenges and risks during the implementation of the project: MTS offered competitive prices, optimized licensing, adapted the backup / restore functionality as well as smoothly migrated resources with minimal downtime and technological changes in the customer's environment.

Vladimir Khrenkov, Director, Innovation Development, MTS, commented: 

"Moving to a cloud computing model allows companies to achieve a threefold reduction in its IT infrastructure costs by the end of the first year. With such obvious economic efficiency combined with flexibility and ease of management, more businesses are set to take advantage of the opportunity cloud brings. MTS offers its clients complex all-in-one solutions combining IT and telecom services. We also guarantee the maximum level of security due to the availability of data centers in various regions of the country and a large-scale own backbone network."

MTS provides cloud computing services #CloudMTS in all regions of Russia. In September 2017, the company launched a Big-Data-as-a-Service (BDaaS) product, which allows MTS customers to organize quickly and efficiently the processing of large data without creating their own computing capacities. Further development of the product will be connected with both the geographic expansion of the resource allocation and an increase in their number as well as the further creation of innovative solutions in the sphere of cloud services.

The MTS cloud platform is built on the base of VMware solution and the equipment of leading enterprise-level vendors. This, combined with the geographical distribution of TIER-III data centers and a branched MTS backbone network and city communication channels, allows the operator to provide a comprehensive, completely disaster-proof service.

BAT Russia is one of the leaders of the Russian tobacco market with a 22.52% market share in 2016. The company’s portfolio includes such well-known international and Russian brands such as Dunhill, Kent, Vogue, Rothmans, Lucky Strike, Alliance and Java.

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MTS and FEFU Launch Partnership to Develop Russky Technopark

Friday, September 08, 2017

At this year’s Third Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, MTS and the Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) have signed a partnership agreement to develop Russky Technopark.

Based on Russky Island, Russky Technopark is a large-scale project to develop a unique ecosystem that combines educational institutions, state organizations and private businesses.   

The cooperation of the leading telecoms company in Russia with the largest federal university in the Far East of the country will facilitate technological entrepreneurship and provide support to start-up businesses, driving the development of innovative R&D projects and acting as a launch pad for new digital products. 

MTS will offer students a unique opportunity to participate in the implementation of its projects by forming special teams combining students, teachers and MTS staff. MTS will also actively support the educational process and technological research as well as assist in organizing business and scientific promotional events. 

With its strategic focus on digitalization and the development of IT-products, MTS will benefit from the innovative thinking of young ta

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MTS Has Agreed a New Strategic Partnership to Strengthen Its Digital Safety

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

MTS signed an agreement with Group-IB, one of global leaders in the cyber security space,  to cooperate on prevention and investigation of cyber-crime and online fraud, as well as to enhance MTS and its customers’ protection online. 

The two companies will exchange data on cyber threats, provide each other with ongoing organizational and methodological support, and assist with technical, financial and human resources. In particular, MTS will provide access to the data held by its newly established Security Operations Center (SOC), while Group-IB will provide expert support and highly sophisticated software and hardware solutions to monitor, identify and prevent cyber attacks.

Digital safety is one of the cornerstones of MTS’s transformation into an IT company. MTS has already entered the Systems Integration market with innovative IT solutions and cloud services for B2B clients. 

MTS is determined to robustly confront the cyber threat facing the industry and its customers head-on. This year, in line with its digital strategy, MTS will start offering information security products to clients. The cooperation with a world-class digital intelligence firm will further strengthen MTS’s IT security expertise and make its subscribers and customers even safer. 

The number of cyber attacks in Russia is constantly increasing. According to Group-IB estimates, in 2016, the Russian cybercrime market exceeded RUB 5.5 billion, an increase of 44% over the year. 

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