Moscow Cellular Announces Rate Cuts

Moscow Cellular Communications announced Monday an aggressive policy to reduce prices, increase services and expand its calling area.

"We're trying to stay extremely competitive," said Nikolai Pryanshnikov, MCC's marketing director. "As the company grows, and the system becomes more complete, we feel we can offer more services while reducing prices."

At the beginning of September, MCC reduced its cost per phone call by as much as 50 cents per minute and dropped fees for international calls by as much as 30 percent. From Sept. 15 to March 1, MCC will offer international callers a $1.89 per minute fee to the United States and Canada.

The company has also increased its services to include call forwarding, conference calling, voice mail and "roaming" -- using a cellular phone in areas covered by other cellular companies.

Starting in October, MCC will offer a service providing some hope, and a small bargain, for dacha owners who have been waiting for the state company to hook up a phone line: fixed cellular communication. Under this program, MCC will install a cellular terminal at a client's house for $395. The government usually charges upwards of $500.

The price cuts come after the company's August completion of a new base for communications in Voronezh. MCC is building similar cellular towers in Tula, Kaluga, Ryazan, Smolensk, Bryansk, Belgorad, Kursk, Oryol, Lipetsk, Tambov and Saratov as part of a program to build a nationwide cellular network.