Moscow, Russian Federation – Mobile TeleSystems OJSC (“MTS” or the “Company” – NYSE: MBT), the leading telecommunications provider in Russia and the CIS, announces that it has partnered with VimpelCom (“Beeline” brand) to jointly roll-out and utilize LTE networks in 36 Russian regions.
MTS and VimpelCom have signed a partnership agreement to jointly plan, develop and use LTE networks in Russia. Under the agreement, in 2014 – 2016, MTS will develop shared mobile data networks in 19 regions in Russia, while VimpelCom will construct networks in 17 regions.
For a period of seven years, operators will share base stations, sites, transport networks and other infrastructure in 36 regions. The agreement will not preclude either company from develop their own networks in addition to shared infrastructure in the designated regions.
Mr. Dmitry Alkhazov, Deputy Minister of Communications and Mass Media for the Russian Federation, said, “Improvement in the quality of the telecommunications services and their increased availability are among the key priorities for the Ministry of Communications. We have recently completed a major project aimed at enabling operators to share telecommunications infrastructure, including joint ownership of base stations. In current economic environment, our goal is to put in place regulations, which will allow operators to reduce costs and further enhance networks coverage in the regions contributing to elimination of the digital divide in Russia. The Ministry welcomes operators’ joint efforts to develop telecommunications infrastructure in Russia”
Mr. Andrei Dubovskov, MTS President and CEO, highlighted, “The partnership between MTS and VimpelCom sets a precedent for sharing active network infrastructure in Russia. The agreement enables each operator to construct networks in regions where building networks independently had not been attractive from commercial standpoint and will ensure better coverage through greater choice of sites for base stations. In practice, this means that within two years, the advantages of mobile broadband will be available to millions of our customers in 36 regions not only in big cities, but in smaller population centers as well. This ambitious project has been made possible by legislative initiatives put forward by the regulator.”
Mr. Mikhail Slobodin, CEO of VimpelCom Russia, further commented, “Expanding the 4G/LTE networks in Russia will enable an improved experience for customers of both VimpelCom Russia and MTS and allow for continued mobile data growth. We expect the agreement to improve the availability and quality of the services to our customers. According to our estimates, more than half of data service users will migrate to 4G/LTE services by 2019 and LTE smartphones are currently one of the fastest growing categories of handsets with sales doubling over the past year. This partnership boosts 4G/LTE expansion in Russia, creating a modern telecommunications infrastructure, which will expand 4G/LTE coverage and improve the performance of our networks. We thank the Regulator for the preparation of the necessary legal framework to enable this partnership and look forward to the early adoption of the legislation which will allow us to double the maximum speed of the mobile Internet by sharing the frequency spectrum.”
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For further information, please contact in Moscow:
Joshua B. Tulgan
Director, Department of Corporate Finance and Investor Relations
Mobile TeleSystems OJSC
Tel: +7 495 223 2025
Learn more about MTS. Visit the official blog of the Investor Relations Department at www.mtsgsm.com/blog/