MTS Unveils 3G Services in 4 More Cities

Mobile TeleSystems, the country's largest mobile-phone company, said Wednesday that it has started faster wireless services to attract clients with quicker downloads and new capabilities, such as mobile television.

MTS will offer the so-called third-generation services in four cities initially, the company said in a statement. The company said it planned to spend 38 billion rubles ($1.61 billion) over the next three years on 3G development.

The service has started in St. Petersburg, and MTS announced "technical readiness" to provide 3G in Sochi, Kazan and Yekaterinburg. The network will be extended to more than 10 cities this year and to 40 cities by the end of 2009, the statement said.

"With the launch of 3G networks in major regions of Russia, MTS is starting a new phase in the development of telecommunications" in the CIS, Mikhail Shamolin, chief executive of MTS Russia, said in the statement. The new network provides a download speed of 3.6 megabits per second, 10 times faster than 2G EDGE technology, the company said.

MTS, VimpelCom and MegaFon aim to offer new services, such as video conferencing and mobile television, to sustain growth in the country.

The company plans to spend 38 billion rubles through 2011 in Russia and forecasts it will have 11 million subscribers for 3G services by 2011. The services may add $2.5 billion to its revenue from 2008 to 2011, according to company data.