Moscow, Russian Federation – Mobile TeleSystems OJSC (“MTS” – NYSE: MBT), the largest mobile phone operator in Russia and the CIS, announces the launch of a test zone of its UMTS (3G) network in Uzbekistan and technical readiness for commercial launch in late 2008.
Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, became the first city in the region where MTS launched its next-generation network. The Company plans to cover the entire city and to announce the commercial launch by the end of the year. Additional cities will be launched in 2009, including Samarkand, Bukhara, and Andijan.
Huawei Technologies, a world-leading telecom solutions provider, was selected by MTS to provide 3G equipment, as well as technical support and employee training.
“MTS is the leading mobile operator in Uzbekistan and plays a key role in the development of the country’s telecommunications market. With the launch of our 3G network, we will bring the most innovative mobile products and services to our subscribers along with the high quality of customer service,” said Mr. Bekhzod Akhmedov, Head of MTS Uzbekistan. “Given the low penetration level of fixed internet connections, we see great prospects for growth by delivering mobile broadband solutions through our 3G network.”
Development of UMTS networks is a cornerstone of MTS’ strategy to provide mobile broadband in the CIS. As these markets demonstrate relatively low levels of fixed-line penetration and historic underinvestment in infrastructure, MTS views its networks as an ideal vehicle to meet the growing broadband Internet needs of its subscribers through attractive data products and services.
MTS launched its first 3G network in Russia in May 2008 and plans to launch the network in Armenia in early 2009. MTS is currently operating a CDMA-450 network in Ukraine to provide high-speed data access for its clients.