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As of September 30, there were 59.04 million cell phone subscribers in Russia, an increase of 3.41 million in that month alone
As of September 30, there were 59.04 million cell phone subscribers in Russia, an increase of 3.41 million in that month alone, according to a report issued by ACM- Consulting. The September rise was led by Vympelkom, up 1.405 million, with 41% of the new users. It was followed by Megafon, with 978,000 new subscribers (29%), while the trio is completed by Mobile Telesystems, or MTS, which has acquired 810,000 subscribers (24%). The bottom line for Russia at the end of September: 20.84 million subscribers with MTS and 19.87 million with Vympelkom. If the present momentum is kept up, Kommersant writes, Vympelkom will have the most clients by the New Year. MTS responded calmly to the ACM report. "We obtained frequencies and licenses in some key areas of Russia only recently," the company said. "Our competitors are reporting robust growth first of all in those regions where MTS is not yet working. However, we see no threat to our leadership in Russia, because by the end of the year we plan to launch networks in more than ten Russian regions. So we will catch up with the rivals in terms of coverage and increase our share of new clients." According to analysts, the reduced share for MTS in the new connections market is down to the good progress made by its competitors in the regions. "The regions are now a huge market, and MTS is losing heavily to Vympelkom there," believes Anton Pogrebinsky, an analyst with ACM-Consulting. "Vympelkom has 72 operating networks in the regions against MTS's 63." For now, MTS remains the biggest mobile operator in Eastern Europe and the CIS. The company has 27.6 million subscribers, with 5.5 million of them based in Ukraine.
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