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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sotovik Aims to Be Your One-Stop Telecoms Site

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When the Communications Ministry told the nation’s two leading mobile operators to give up some of their frequencies last fall, Sotovik.ru was bombarded with hits.

That’s because the telecom’s information web site was the first to break the scandal.

"We have sources within the industry who volunteer a lot of information," said editor in chief Yevgeny Itsikson.

They also have more than 12,000 unique users a day, more than twice as many as predicted a year ago, with 21 percent coming from outside Russia.

About 50 percent of the news is press releases and articles about telecoms from other publications, while many articles come from the site’s writers and stringers.

News is just one feature of Sotovik.ru, named after a word that means "cellular communications specialist,’’ but unofficially used as a synonym for a cellphone.

Put up in February 1998 by three Internet enthusiasts, Sotovik.ru aimed to become a one-stop source for information on Russia’s expanding telecoms industry. It now releases comprehensive industry overviews and opinions that are referenced by investment banks and the media.

Companies sometimes send press releases to Sotovik.ru instead of putting it on their own sites. Perhaps the most enjoyable parts on the site are the open forums where people anonymously lash out at operators, equipment manufacturers, telecom authorities and analysts, or speculate on the truthfulness of a press release.

"We’ve had some serious fights," said Michael Alexeyev, chairman of Sotovik.ru and partner at J’son & Partners, which owns 51 percent.

One forum last year saw Novosibirsk operators duking it out over who was better for consumers.

It’s also considered the best place to shop for cellphones and has an online data base of more than 10,000 models covering all price ranges, with free delivery included.