MTS blog


REBRANDING COMSTAR

Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Today we announced our plans to offer Comstar’s products and services under the MTS brand by the end of 2011. After the rebranding is completed, MTS will offer a full range of fixed and mobile communication products under the MTS brand throughout Russia, expanding the presence of our brand and leveraging its strength to sell additional products. We will keep the MGTS brand for fixed telephony in Moscow, as it is one of oldest brands in Russia with roots in the 19th century.

The MTS brand has been recognized as the most powerful and valuable brand in Russia for the last three years by the annual BrandZ ranking published by the Financial Times and Millward Brown. Given the popularity of the MTS brand in its markets of operation, where the Company is renowned for its quality of services and its ability to introduce new innovative products and services, it is logical that we have decided to use the MTS brand for our combined services portfolio.

The rebranding of Comstar-UTS will include the gradual phase out of the Stream brand used for fixed broadband and pay TV products. Eventually, consumers in Russia will be able to get a full range of telecommunications services under the MTS brand, including mobile and fixed voice, broadband, pay TV and content and entertainment services. In addition, Stream and Comstar retail stores will be rebranded to MTS, while MTS stores will start offering a range of consumer products from Comstar.

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SUBSCRIBER NUMBERS FOR MARCH 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010
Today, we have released our subscriber numbers for the month of March 2010. Below is a table outlining the dynamics of our customer base.

Subscribers (mln) March 31 2010 Feb 28, 2010 Growth
Subs
Growth
%
March 31, 2009 Growth
Subs
Growth
%
Total consolidated subscribers, eop 97.81 97.76 0.05 0.1% 92.19 5.62 6.1%
Russia 69.08 69.17 (0.09) (0.1%) 65.11 3.97 6.1%
Ukraine 17.35 17.39 (0.04) (0.2%) 17.94 (0.59) (3.3%)
Uzbekistan 7.38 7.29 0.09 1.2% 5.97 1.41 23.5%
Turkmenistan 1.90 1.82 0.08 4.0% 1.12 0.78 68.6%
Armenia 2.11 2.10 0.01 0.5% 2.05 0.06 2.9%
MTS Belarus1 4.57 4.55 0.02 0.4% 4.42 0.15 3.5%

Subscriber data for Russian mobile operators is compiled by Advanced Communications and Media, a management consulting and research agency specializing in telecommunications and media. You can view their March subscriber report here.

1 MTS owns a 49% stake in Mobile TeleSystems LLC, a mobile operator in Belarus, which is not consolidated.

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MTS LAUNCHES MONEY TRANSFER SERVICE

Thursday, April 15, 2010
We are launching an instant money transfer service using our retail network to provide customers with the ability to make money transfers in Russia and abroad. This will allow us to expand our service portfolio, as well as to attract more customers to our retail stores.

Currently, customers can transfer money after paying a commission that amounts to 1.6% of the total amount for intra-Russia transfers and 2% for transfers to the CIS. In the near future, the service will expand outside of the CIS to include transfers to such countries as Bulgaria, Germany, Israel, Spain, Italy, Canada, China, Poland, Vietnam, the UK and the USA. Customers can make use of the service at all MTS-owned stores in Russia - the current list of locations is available on our Russian-language website.

As our press secretary noted in an interview to a business newspaper RBC Daily, we are aiming to gain a 4% share of the instant money transfer market by the end of 2010. The market is estimated to be worth anywhere from $8.4 to $10 billion.

MTS partnered with Rapida Payment System to provide this service. Customers can collect transfers at any of the 18,000 Rapida locations around the world, including 3,500 spots in Russia and the CIS. There is no minimum amount for transfers, and the maximum amount is set at 150,000 rubles. Customers can only send money in rubles but may choose to receive it in other currencies such as US dollars or Euros, based on exchange rates of the location where the funds are retrieved. In addition, MTS is offering an SMS notification service, allowing the receiver to retrieve the transfer by showing his personal identification documents and the SMS with the transfer code.

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REPORT ON MOBILE RETAIL IN RUSSIA, Q1 2010

Friday, April 02, 2010

One of our major initiatives in 2009 was the rapid expansion of our mobile retail network and distribution of devices through it. As we have indicated in our Q4 and FY 2009 results presentation, we have sold over 2 million handsets through our network during 2009, gaining a market share of 11.7% by the end of the year (from just over 2% in Q1 2009).

Today we are issuing a report on mobile retail in Russia during Q1 2010, based on the estimates from our mobile retail network. You can download it here.

Highlights from the report:
- The Russian market for handsets grew to around 7.3 million units sold in Q1 2010, a 22% year-on-year growth
- Mobile handset market in Russia reached 33.4 bln rubles in sales in Q1 2010
- The average price of mobile phones on the market during Q1 2010 was 4,594 rubles, approximately 71% of devices sold through our stores were below 5,000
- The market share of MTS retail network grew to 13.8% in Q1 2010 from 11.7% in Q4 2009 (in unit sales)
- MTS-branded handset MTS 236 was the most popular device sold through the MTS retail network, accounting for 8.4% of total units sold

Please download the compete report here:

 Mobile retail report Q1 2010 

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SUBSCRIBER NUMBERS FOR FEBRUARY 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Today, we have released our subscriber numbers for the month of February 2010. Below is a table outlining the dynamics of our customer base.

Subscribers (mln) Feb 28, 2010 Jan 31, 2010 Growth
Subs
Growth
%
Feb 28, 2009 Growth
Subs
Growth
%
Total consolidated subscribers, eop 97.76 97.46 0.30 0.3% 91.77 5.99 6.5%
Russia 69.17 68.88 0.29 0.4% 64.83 4.34 6.7%
Ukraine 17.39 17.52 (0.13) (0.8%) 18.02 (0.63) (3.5%)
Uzbekistan 7.29 7.19 0.10 1.3% 5.80 1.49 25.6%
Turkmenistan 1.82 1.79 0.03 2.1% 1.07 0.75 71.0%
Armenia 2.10 2.08 0.02 1.0% 2.05 0.05 2.5%
MTS Belarus1 4.549 4.553 (0.004) (0.1%) 4.39 0.16 3.5%

Subscriber data for Russian mobile operators is compiled by Advanced Communications and Media, a management consulting and research agency specializing in telecommunications and media. You can view their February subscriber report here.

1 MTS owns a 49% stake in Mobile TeleSystems LLC, a mobile operator in Belarus, which is not consolidated.

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SUBSCRIBER NUMBERS FOR JANUARY 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010
Today, we have released our subscriber numbers for the month of January 2010. Below is a table outlining the dynamics of our customer base.

Subscribers (mln) Jan 31, 2010 Dec 31, 2009 Growth
Subs
Growth
%
Jan 31, 2009 Growth
Subs
Growth
%
Total consolidated subscribers, eop 97.46 97.81 (0.35) (0.4%) 91.40 6.06 6.6%
Russia 68.88 69.34 (0.46) (0.7%) 64.49 4.39 6.8%
Ukraine 17.52 17.56 (0.04) (0.2%) 18.15 (0.63) (3.4%)
Uzbekistan 7.19 7.07 0.12 1.7% 5.73 1.46 25.4%
Turkmenistan 1.79 1.76 0.03 1.6% 1.00 0.79 78.5%
Armenia 2.08 2.07 0.01 0.2% 2.03 0.05 2.4%
MTS Belarus1 4.55 4.56 (0.01) (0.2%) 4.37 0.18 4.2%

Subscriber data for Russian mobile operators is compiled by Advanced Communications and Media, a management consulting and research agency specializing in telecommunications and media. You can view their January subscriber report here.

1 MTS owns a 49% stake in Mobile TeleSystems LLC, a mobile operator in Belarus, which is not consolidated.

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MTS-BRANDED PHONES

Friday, February 12, 2010
          
MTS 835, 3G-enabled phone with a 2 megapixel camera and a 2.4 inch screen

We have been selling MTS-branded phones since the end of last year through our monobrand retail network in Russia. Currently, we have a total of four models on offer ranging from a basic model at 980 rubles* (or around $32**) - one of the most affordable in the market - to a 3G-enabled one at a very attractive price point  of 6,490 rubles (or around $215).
 
Lower-end phone models dominate in Russia, and we estimate that phones for under 5,000 rubles (around $165) accounted for over 35% of the market in 2009. This price point is attractive to customers who are buying their first phone, but also to those that want a phone for a second line or to use during vacation.

So far, we are quite pleased with the sales of MTS-branded phones. At the end of 2009, MTS was among the top five mobile phone brands, accounting for approximately 2% of the market in Q4’2009 (based on our estimates, in terms of sales of devices). During the months of November and December, MTS-branded phones accounted for 15% of phone sales through the MTS monobrand network. MTS-236, the entry-level model, was one of the 10 most popular models in December.

We have recently launched sales of MTS-236 in Armenia, and we are to planning to expand our branded device portfolio in our markets of operations going forward.

Additional information about our phones:
MTS-236 is an entry-level phone, one of the most affordable in the market, sold for 980 rubles (around $32). It offers basic calling capabilities with an attractive form factor.

MTS-733 is one of the cheapest 3G phones available in Russia, priced at 2,999 rubles (under $99), which is 4 times cheaper than the average 3G model in the market. This model has a 2 megapixel camera and 2 inch screen.

MTS-736 is a slider with a 2 inch screen and a 2 megapixel camera. It is sold for 4,490 rubles (around $148).

MTS-835 is the most advanced 3G model offered under our brand, featuring a 2.4 inch screen, a 2 megapixel main camera and a 0.3 megapixel front camera. The phone is priced at 6,490 rubles (around $215).

MTS-236 was developed by ZTE, and the other three phones are produced by Huawei. We are offering a 3-year warranty on our phones, if subscribers stay with MTS during that period.

-----------------------

* The amounts quoted in this post refer to phone prices when bought with a new MTS tariff plan. Phones are unlocked and are available without the tariff for the following prices: MTS-236 for 1,050 rubles, MTS-733 for 3,490 rubles, MTS-736 for 4,990 rubles and MTS-835 for 6,990. While contract prices vary across the Russian regions, MTS-branded phones are uniformly priced across Russia.

** According to the Russian Central Bank exchange rate of 30.2462 RUB/USD as of February 11, 2010. Dollar amounts provided for reference only.

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ISO 9001:2008 CERTIFICATE OF CONFORMITY

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Earlier this week MTS became the only Russian telecommunications company to obtain the ISO 9001:2008 certificate of conformity for its Quality Management System that covers all of our locations in Russia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. The certification audit was conducted by SGS, the global leader in inspection, verification, testing and certification services.

“Implementing the certification audit of the MTS Group allowed us to make sure that the Company’s activities and its internal quality management processes comply with the highest international standards. Obtaining the certificate of conformity helps to strengthen the Company’s reputation as an operator with a high service quality. I am convinced that getting the ISO certificate will bring MTS even more trust on behalf of its clients, investors and partners as well as will boost its further effective and successful business development,” said Peter Marriott, Vice-President of SGS S.A.

“The certification audit confirms the high level of service standards and the effectiveness of the process management system maintained by MTS throughout its markets of operation. The certification provides an additional incentive for our Company to further standardize requirements and approaches towards quality management in order to create better conditions for managing the processes of the integrated management system in the framework of the MTS Group,” noted Mikhail Shamolin, President and CEO of MTS.

In the future, along with the annual surveillance audits we intend to extend the geographical scope of the certification to all of our markets of operation.

From left to right: Alexander Gamov – Director of the Quality Assurance Department at MTS, Peter Marriott – Vice-President of SGS SA, Konstantin Timoshechkin – Manager in charge of business development at SGS S.A. (Eastern Europe).

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GUEST POST FROM IDC: MTS AND SMALL BUSINESSES

Friday, September 25, 2009
By Timothy Doherty, Research Analyst for Small and Medium Business Mobility Markets for IDC

IDC has recently published a report examining the small and medium business initiatives of MTS, and we wanted to share the key insights here on the MTS IR Blog.

As in other regions worldwide, the small and medium-business (SMB) market in Russia represents a significant untapped revenue opportunity for operators, but presents a number of challenges. SMBs typically have fewer IT resources than large enterprises to rely on when making technology purchase decisions, making customer education vital. Although the SMB market in aggregate constitutes a substantial opportunity, each individual customer represents a relatively modest volume; efficiencies in marketing and ongoing customer support are therefore of paramount importance. MTS has implemented a number of strategies in its core Russian market to target the small and medium-sized business market.

Like SMB-savvy operators in the United States and Western Europe, MTS is leveraging an SMB web portal to better manage its SMB customers. Online portals not only allow direct payments, but also let customers explore and opt in and out of services. Given the vast size of Russia, the web portal is one of the efficient ways MTS can interact with subscribers and provide customer support.

While enterprises frequently have a dedicated operator support representative to rely on, this model is not cost-effective for SMBs. Still, to cultivate customer loyalty and sell deeper into customers, some sort of support relationship must exist. Akin to small business specialists at other operators in more developed markets in North America and Europe, MTS has small business curators: development managers who analyze service usage by customers and promote the benefits of additional services. The curator program allows MTS to educate its existing customer base and sell through additional phone lines and services; since the launch of the program, MTS reports that a typical small business customer initially purchases two lines, but adds another four lines inside the first 6 months.

To get more insight into the MTS work in the SMB market, please refer to our recent report.

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FLAGSHIP STORE IN MOSCOW

Tuesday, August 25, 2009



Earlier in August, we have opened the doors of our new flagship store in Moscow. The new store is located on the first floor of the Evropeiskiy shopping center, one of the more popular locations with the residents of Moscow. Around 190,000 people visit the center daily and over 220,000 per day come there during the weekend, according to the data provided by the shopping center.

The new flagship store is part of the development of MTS’ monobrand retail network in Russia, which includes the acquisition of multibrand retailers, increasing franchisees and the rebranding and optimization of existing locations. The key focus of MTS’ retail strategy is to provide personalized customer service and better tailored products, including exclusive devices bundled with applications developed by MTS. For instance, we have recently launched Nokia’s N97 mobile computer exclusively in our retail network.

The new flagship store has been developed using global best practices. We have particularly benefited from our partnership with Vodafone, whereby we have been able to draw from their experience operating retail networks around the world. The key feature of the store lies in its open lay-out with the majority of the retail space dedicated to handsets and devices. Customer can also handle and test the devices, something that has not been possible in Russian retail before.



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