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.
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 Omlet.ru 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 Omlet.ru.
Presentation: Looking at the roadmap for future infrastructure investment
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Global Telecom Business, a leading telecommunications trade magazine, recently interviewed Mikhail Shamolin, President and CEO of MTS. The interview is now available on GTB’s website
, where Shamolin discusses the acquisition of Comstar and MTS’ plans for delivering content to subscribers.
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
Monday, August 17, 2009
By Joshua Tulgan, Director of Investor Relations at MTS (NYSE:MBT)
Recently, we tracked a discussion about the role of IR in the M&A process on a couple of industry blogs (original entry
and the response
to it). Given the recent announcement
of our intent to acquire a controlling stake of COMSTAR-UTS, I thought I could offer one perspective from an IR professional.
I would agree that investment banks are a great resource for information for M&A communications (i.e. the data points used to sell the deal, such as multiples and comparisons with other similar transactions, particularly in a global context). At the same time, I do believe that the IR department should be brought in to discuss such key questions as the strategic justification, valuation process, and key integration issues inherent in any M&A deal.
The IR department has been afforded an active role in many facets of the transaction due to the legal, governance and valuation issues involved. Our key task has been laying the groundwork for investors to appreciate the strategic importance of the transaction, followed by a multi-faceted approach to managing the information flow, investors’ expectations and management intent following the closing of the transaction. Our success so far has been due to our deep involvement in the deal and driven by the fact that long after the banks, our M&A team, the lawyers and DD advisors are gone, the IR department will be left to mind the store so to speak.
In the end, we do sell ideas, data points, etc. to our audiences, but IR affords the rare opportunity to craft the item being sold. And I think any salesperson would admit that the greater role IR has in shaping a product, the more the IR function will believe in the product. And this makes the product that much easier to sell.