On November 13, we disclosed our financial results for the third quarter 2009. As always, we posted a wealth of information about the results on our website – the press release, the presentation and the Excel spreadsheet with summary financial information for 2004-2009
As was stated during the conference call, we had a good quarter with revenues for the Group growing 12% q-on-q to nearly $2.3 billion on the back of healthy subscriber additions, a seasonal increase in usage, rising data consumption and a growing contribution from our retail sales. The Group’s OIBDA increased 11% q-on-q to $1.1 billion with an overall margin of 46.9%. Less the effect of our retail investments, the margin improved from Q2 2009 to 50.7%.
Though we continue to see an impact from macroeconomic uncertainty, we realized growth q-on-q in our Russian operations of 10% to 56 billion rubles. In addition to the seasonal dynamics of our business, we are succeeding in driving our active subscriber base and realizing 50% year-over-year growth in both data content and traffic revenues. We also witnessed a greater contribution from handset sales, which exceeded 3.2 billion rubles or 5.7% of revenue.
In Ukraine, we saw growth of 12% q-on-q to reach 2.2 billion hryvnas. We attribute this growth to seasonal factors, including increased usage and roaming, as well as certain marketing initiatives that adjust limits to our unlimited tariff plans. Changes to these tariff packages are allowing us to better monetize our customer base, while we are seeing a steady improvement in our brand perception and active subscriber base.
This was a busy quarter at MTS. As we discussed at our recent Analyst and Investor Day
, we are focusing on a number of key initiatives to realize our 3i Strategy: the acquisition of 50.91% stake in Comstar-UTS
and development of fixed-line broadband and pay-TV services in our markets; the continued roll-out of 3G and promotion of data and content services to our customers; the on-going development of our retail sales channels; the launch of our online portal, Omlet.ru
; activity on the local and international capital markets; plus our ongoing focus on cost effectiveness.
During the conference call Mikhail Shamolin
, President and CEO of MTS, also noted that contrary to speculation, the Company has no plans to enter into the Indian market. The management is continuously looking at markets abroad, but the focus remains on developing markets in Russia and the CIS for telecommunications services. This is the very essence of our 3i Strategy and in our view the best way to maximize value for all of our shareholders.