MTS blog


Monday, May 27, 2013

Michael Hecker, MTS Vice President for Strategy, M&A and Corporate Development, in April spoke at the D: Dive Into Mobile conference in New York. After the conference he shared his impressions in a blog post. Now, the video of the the panel discussion where Michael and Telefonica Digital's Carlos Domingo were interviewed by Ina Fried is available at the All Things D's website.  

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend and speak at the prestigious AllThingsD: Dive Into Mobile conference. The conference examined a number of global trends in the mobile space that are shaping our industry, such as services and technology, mobile advertising platforms, growth in Android devices and Facebook’s new Home.   The discussions were driven by leaders in the industry, and I wanted to share some of the key highlights and trends discussed at the forum.


The conference kicked off with outgoing Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs discussing the soon-to-be released FireFox OS. Mr. Kovacs addressed how the mobile web - including HTML5 and JavaScript enhancements - has matured over the past few years, allowing developers and companies to expand and enhance the mobile OS space. Kovacs says that the time is right for more options in the mobile space, whereas in the past, the technology and APIs weren’t advanced enough to provide end-users with the best experiences.


Later in the day, we heard from two non-US companies, Xiaomi and Movile. Xiaomi is one of the fastest growing handset makers in China, selling over 7.19 million devices in 2012 and expecting that number to double in 2013. Bin Lin, co-founder and president of Xiaomi, laid out his vision stating, “We believe the future of the mobile Internet is really about services.” MTS has long imported branded low-cost handsets from China, and in addition to higher-priced offerings from Samsung, HTC and others, we offer a wide range of options to suit most budgets, as smartphone sales will increasingly drive further data penetration.  CEO and founder of Movile, Brazil’s largest mobile services company, Fabricio Bloisi Rocah, echoed the sentiments of Lin and Kovacs on services and technology. The two big trends Rocah sees are Wi-Fi penetration in Latin America and HTML5’s continued growth. Likewise, MTS believes that a total data offering to our customers will increase the opportunity to offer better services for customers.


An interesting area of discussion centered around Google’s Jason Spero and Millennial Media’s Mollie Spilman, as they examined the mobile advertising space. While still in it’s early stages, mobile advertising is steadily developing into a real ecosystem and platform. Continued enhancements to location and tracking offer this space a bright future.


On the second day of the conference, Google’s Eric Schmidt was the highlight of the event, as he spoke on Android’s growth and success, his upcoming book The New Digital Age, and the recent launch of Facebook Home for Android. Speaking of Home, Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer opened up about Home’s development. Schroepfer shared that Facebook had originally developed Home three different ways: its current “skinned” Android form, a standalone app, and Facebook’s own forked version of Android.


During the afternoon session, I joined Carlos Domingo of Telefonica as we spoke to Ina Fried, senior editor of AllThingsD, about the Russian and Latin America mobile markets. Carlos and I dove into handsets, operating systems, and whether carries are just “dumb pipes.” 


Carlos Domingo (left) and Michael Hecker, photo by


Going into the conference, most people in the audience didn’t know much about the telecommunication world outside of the US. This gave Carlos and I the opportunity to act as ambassadors for our respective regions and educate the audience. When asked about handsets, I explained that Russia acts like both a developed and developing nations, with higher penetration of smart phones in places like Moscow and largest cities and feature phone in other areas of the country.



There is also a negative connotation in the US that carries are nothing more than dumb pipes. However, we don’t necessarily see this as a negative. We are happy with being “pipe” as long as this “pipe” generates significant profits which MTS can invest in other areas driving growth, like M2M, cloud and financial services.


Opportunities for operators in financial services has become a hot topic in the emerging “unbanked markets” with low penetration of credit products - from Kenya to Latin America to Russia, but this concept is relatively unknown in the West. Using as an example MTS’s recent acquisition of a 25% stake in MTS Bank, I explained to Ms. Fried and the audience how operators can leverage their brands, their retail networks and subscriber’s data and payment history to bring compelling offerings to the market. We believe that the relationship we have with our subscribers enables us to offer them products beyond traditional mobile communications, like payments and other financial services. 


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Friday, September 14, 2012

On September 14, 2012, Dr. Michael Hecker, MTS Vice President for Srategy and Corporate Development, spoke at the 20th OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum in Prague. In his address to the participants of the forum Michael raised the issue of the investment climate in Uzbekistan and commented about the situation with MTS's Uzbek subsidiary and its employees. You can download the statement below. 

20120912_MTS Statement OSCE Econ Forum Prague.pdf (196.85 kb)

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Dr. Michael Hecker, MTS Vice President for Strategy and Corporate Development, spoke with Alan Burkitt-Gray, editor of the leading trade magazine Global Telecoms Business, on the problems MTS is facing in Uzbekistan, where four of the MTS employees remain imprisoned, and on the Company's plans for LTE roll-out in Russia. Click here to read the article. 

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Reuters newswire has published an article on the recent developments in Uzbekistan. Click here to read the article. 

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Saturday, August 04, 2012

 Dr. Michael Hecker, MTS Vice President for Strategy and Corporate Development, has contributed a blog post on Russia's WTO accession at Click here to read the article. 

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Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Michael Hecker, MTS Vice President for Strategy and Corporate Development, spoke with Light Reading at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Click here to watch the video 

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