MTS blog


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Alexey Kornya, MTS Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, recently spoke at the CFO Insight Emerging Europe and CIS Summit in Vienna. Alexey's presentation Reassessing Risks: Emerging Confdence in Emerging Markets is now available at slideshare.  Follow this link to watch a video interview with Alexey filmed at the event. 

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Friday, September 02, 2011

In April Mikhail Gerchuk, MTS Vice President for Marketing, spoke with Mobile World Live, the leading mobile communications resource. Mikhail taked about MTS strategy of offering MTS-branded devices and new market niches MTS is currently exploring. The interview has just been posted at the website. Please use this link to access the video.

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Monday, July 18, 2011

As communications is our business we get to answer tons of questions from our customers. More than 4000 employees in seven contact centers across Russia handle 8 million customer calls a month.  We sat down with Tatyana Rodionova and talked about her experience in managing operations of the MTS contact center in the macro region “Center”, located in Ryazan.

How long have you been working with MTS? How did your career evolve?

I joined MTS ten years ago – in July 2001 – as a specialist of the contact center in Ryazan. Back then, we had small call centers with five to twelve employees scattered across the country. In 2006 the call-centers were consolidated.  Now we have seven call-centers and one center of outgoing contacts – that doesn’t receive incoming calls. As the contact centers were being reorganized, I was promoted to lead the call-center located in Ryazan which covers 16 regions.

How many employees do you have? What is the typical profile of a customer service representative?  What are the requirements for working in the contact center?

We have 640 employees – the majority of which are young university-educated women (with the most popular name being Lena). To work here we require a higher education, PC literacy, excellent communication skills, and articulate speech. Experience, however, is not required; employees receive a month and a half of training once they start working.  Advanced courses and training are also available to those looking to further their careers at the call center..

What is the inflow of inquiries?  Do you process phone calls only?

We handle around 1.8 million inquiries a month. We receive SMS, emails and questions via web-chat, but 99% of customers call us. I believe this is county specific, as Russian customers enjoy talking to customer service.  They would rather speak to a Customer Service Representative than look up the information on the website or use IVR. The customers sing songs, joke and some even flirt with our employees! Of course we have a policy that provides guidance for these situations. Also, we train our employees to reduce the talk time. At MTS, the average talk time is 143 seconds while in the call-centers of Vodafone, with which MTS is a partner network, the conversation on average lasts much longer – maybe as long as 450 seconds.

How have you seen shifts in call volume? Is it cyclical? Are there particular seasons/days/hours that experience higher levels of volume?

The peak hours for us are in the morning on weekdays and in the evening when people are on their way home from work – they often call us from cars or public transport. Days before holidays are very hot, especially before the long New Year’s holidays. As they plan their travels clients call to check their balance, subscribe to services and inquire about roaming prices. Then during the actual holidays and on weekends call volume falls.

What are the main reasons subscribers call the contact center?

Around 35% of the customers call when they have questions about a specific service, terms of usage, or want to understand how to subscribe or unsubscribe to an MTS product.

Customers are increasingly calling us to inquire about the GPRS settings. 12% of the calls are about payments, while 10% of the subscribers call to inquire about the charges to their account. Calls to block/unblock the phone number account for about 9%. 7% are about voice and data plans. Our contact center also handles calls of fixed broadband and pay TV customers (about 45,000 a month).

What are the KPIs for employees?

We strive to provide a superior customer experience and aim to do so as expeditiously as possible. Employees are evaluated based on their ability to provide excellent customer service with a portion of their compensation tied to the successful sales of products and services. We’ve taken a page from Vodafone and leverage their experience on how to most effectively sell our products via the call centers. To evaluate customer satisfaction, our system offers every third customer the opportunity to evaluate the quality of the service they received from 1 to 5. Ranking of the employees is based on the customers’ assessment. We show the ranking of each employee on the screens in the contact center. This establishes a game-like dynamic and inspires healthy competition.

Can you recall an amusing question or story from a customer?

Well, we certainly have a lot of them! One time a woman called and our employee asked her to introduce herself in order to identify her in our database. She says, “Svetlana Lebedeva,” but the search in the database yielded no results. “Try Svetlana Matveeva,” suggests the customer – again no person with such a name. “OK, try Svetlana Kryuchkova. I’ve been with MTS so long that I’ve been married three times!” 

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Friday, July 01, 2011


Last week I attended Telecom World Congress 2011, where I was invited to speak about infrastructure investment. There are few countries in the world where the topic takes higher priority than Russia, and given that we cross nine time zones, probably no nation where the challenge is more daunting. So it was a privilege to share with global telecom leaders which technologies we’re finding most cost effective, and how we’re managing network capacity through fair usage policies and traffic optimization (see presentation below).

The conference lasted three days, and regrettably I was only able to attend the last one. But I attended some informative sessions and thought I’d share my favorites.

Monetizing Broadband
Karl-Michael Henneking and Jochen Dinger from Detecon gave their insights on the options telcos have to capture shares of the “over-the-top” business. They have highlighted mobile video calling, telepresence services, video game streaming and IPTV as services with a significant revenue potential for telcos. One approach they suggest is locking in customers with a convenient to use platform of services, e.g. with a single set top box supporting a broad range of applications from IPTV and video on demand services to gaming, which eventually establishes a smart hub in customers’ homes. This is an option MTS has already started exploring with a launch of online media portal with a unique portfolio of thousands of movies from Russian and major Hollywood studios. As demand for the legal video content in Russia grows, we are improving Omlet’s infrastructure, having recently enabled users to store purchased content in the cloud and stream it to devices including PC or Mac computers, smartphones, set-top boxes and TV-sets.

Telecom Operators Role in Convergence
The panel discussion with Portugal Telecom’s Manuel Rosa da Silva and Level 3’s Daniel Sjoberg focused on how telecom operators are becoming key players in the converged world. It echoed the main theme of the conference of how telecom operators are moving away from traditional voice services towards new revenue growth streams. Manuel was very optimistic about our function here. He showed how telecom operators can become more than “dumb pipes” by launching innovative content offerings and leveraging customers’ demand for non-linear multi-screen experience. Again, very much like what we are trying to achieve with

Presentation: Looking at the roadmap for future infrastructure investment

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Thursday, October 14, 2010


It was recently announced that the Moscow City Telephone Network (MGTS), the incumbent PSTN operator in Moscow and owned by Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) through its majority ownership of Comstar-UTS, will invest RUB 13 billion in the modernization of its fixed line network between now and 2013. The digitalization will allow the company to decrease its maintenance costs for analogue exchanges, modernize its business processes, optimize employee levels and boost overall efficiency.

We asked Sergey Ivanov, the CEO of MGTS, to elaborate on what the company plans to accomplish through the modernization program.

What is the percentage of digital lines in the MGTS network, and when does the company plan to complete the digitalization process?

As of the beginning of 2010, 63% of our active lines were digitalized. If we maintain the current pace of modernization, we will be able to reach the 100% level by the end of 2013.

How are you going to utilize the space that will become free following the replacement of analogue equipment with digital lines?

A significant effect from the execution of our modernization program will be the freeing up of space from under the automatic telephone exchanges through use of more compact equipment. We are already leasing out 50 000 sq. meters of office and utility space, which brings in more than RUB 0.5 billion of extra revenue annually. We expect this number to increase to up to RUB 2 billion during 2011-2013 as we continue to modernize the network. We are considering different options of utilizing unoccupied spaces, most of which are located in areas with significant investment potential, including leasing out the space outright, leasing it out after making minimal investments, or modernizing the space before leasing it out.

Starting this year, the numbering capacity being introduced is based on the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) technology. Which new services will be made available to subscribers with the introduction of this technology, and when do you expect to launch them?

Based on this technology, an IMS gateway will be installed in each apartment that will provide access to modern fixed-line services (landline, Internet access, and IPTV) as well as additional high quality services (caller ID, call waiting, call forwarding, SMS, etc.).

How does MGTS as the main provider of fixed-line services and a key player in the broadband market benefit from the IMS technology?

IMS is a technology that enables us to simultaneously digitalize the MGTS network and to deliver broadband access to every single apartment in Moscow. Every apartment connected using the IMS technology will have broadband access – both fixed broadband and wireless using Wi-Fi – on top of the regular landline. Once the IMS gateway is installed, it becomes much easier to connect various services, in fact it is already connected, and it is only a matter of actually starting to use it. The IMS technology enables us to significantly decrease investments in network digitalization and to employ innovative technologies.

The MTS infrastructure also uses the IMS technology. Are there any synergies to be realized from MGTS introducing IMS?

The IMS architecture provides a base for convergent solutions for both fixed and mobile services. At this stage we are building up the technological base, but subsequently we will be offering our subscribers convergent solutions, including IMS-based ones.

How will MTS boost sales through integration with MGTS? How does the Group cross-sell services and which bundled offerings will be available to the subscribers?

Already today customers can pay for MGTS’ fixed-line services (local and long distance calls, broadband and TV) and MTS’ mobile services using a unified MGTS bill; payments can be made in the MTS stores. In addition, MTS SIM-cards are distributed in the MGTS offices. In early 2010 sales of a broadband package from MGTS were launched through the MTS retail chain. In the future we will be offering more bundled services.

(Text translated from Russian to English by MTS)

Please download the MGTS presentation here:

 Modernization of the MGTS

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