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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

MegaFon Offers High-Speed Web Use

VedomostiAs the price of state-of-the-art mobiles comes down, MegaFon expects the demand for EDGE technology to grow exponentially.
MegaFon, the country's third-largest cellphone operator, has beaten its competitors to begin offering a new technology in selected parts of Moscow and the region that will make surfing the web and using other wireless mobile perks more than four times faster.

The technology, called EDGE, supports data transfer of 200 kilobytes per second, versus its predecessor, GPRS, which can only transfer about 30 kilobytes per second.

MegaFon is not disclosing how much it has invested in EDGE, but describes the amount as "insignificant." The operator entered the Moscow market only three years ago, which means its infrastructure is up-to-date and includes EDGE capabilities.

Currently, only about 2 percent of MegaFon subscribers have phones that support EDGE , but as the price of such state-of-the-art mobiles comes down, the operator expects the demand for the service to "grow exponentially."

Russia's No.1 mobile operator, Mobile TeleSystems, or MTS, started offering its customers EDGE in Samara, where it has the latest infrastructure to support the technology. However, MTS needs to modernize its infrastructure in Moscow before it is able to offer it to its capital-based subscribers.

VimpelCom, Russia's No. 2 mobile provider, also has only begun offering EDGE outside the capital, in Vologda and Murmansk, but like MTS may bring it to Moscow by the end of 2005.

"This is not a product that affects profits yet. ... Now, [EDGE] is more of an image-booster," said VimpelCom spokesman Mikhail Umarov.

EDGE is not going to be the deciding factor in choosing a provider in the near-saturated Moscow cellphone market, said Anton Pogrebinsky, an analyst with AM&C. Nevertheless, EDGE is a perk that may sway subscribers to stay with their current provider, he added.