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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

MTS Subscriber Base Tops 10 Million

The subscriber base of Mobile TeleSystems has passed the 10 million threshold, making it one of Europe's top ten cellular operators, the company said Wednesday.

Russia's leading provider now has 10.3 million subscribers -- 8.4 million in Russia, 1.9 million in Ukraine through its subsidiary UMC and 116,000 in its Belarussian venture.

MTS, founded in 1993, currently controls 37.1 percent of the Russian market, according to ACM Consulting. The other two of the so-called big three operators, Vimpelcom and Megafon, have 29.6 percent and 17.1 percent, respectively.

"Growing demand among people for communication and information exchange and the economic development in our country are significant factors in the company's success," MTS president Mikhail Smirnov told reporters at the Svyaz Expocom-2003 exhibition, which runs through Friday at ExpoCenter.

"MTS's strategy is aimed at strengthening our position in the markets where we have been operating for a long time and at further expansion of our operations in Russia's regions and in neighboring countries," Smirnov said.

Smirnov said the company will launch its operations in three regions -- Samara, Saratov and Barnaul -- by early fall. "We are also studying the potential of markets outside Russia," he added, without elaborating.

Smirnov said MTS is interested in increasing its share in MTS Belarus. Currently MTS has 49 percent of the company, while Belarus long-distance operator Mezhdugorodnaya Svyaz controls 51 percent.

MTS's market capitalization is now $5.1 billion, making it Russia's eighth-largest company, he said.

Although MTS's financial results for the fourth quarter of 2002 will not be announced until later this month, Smirnov said the key average revenues per user number would be down. He said the company intends to offset the decrease by increasing revenues from value added services. Revenues from value added services made up 4 percent of the company's total revenues in the third quarter of 2002.