Author: Mikhail Doroshevich
At the recent Belarusian Investment Forum held in Minsk, the President of mobile GSM operator MTS, Mikhail Smirnov, asserted that the Belarusian telecoms market has considerable potential for his company.
"There are only 4 per cent of mobile users in Belarus, the market is very small. That's why we can count upon rapid growth in this sector in coming years", said Smirnov. Market growth of up to 100 per cent is forecasted.
Mobile Telesystems (MTS) is a joint Belarusian-Russian venture that emerged on the Belarusian market in June 2002. The company's main shareholders are Russian MTS (49 per cent) and Belarusian "Mezdugorodnaya Sviaz" (51 per cent).
Russia's MTS has already invested E5.3m in Belarus and E32.1m in its joint venture subsidiary. Both companies have had to pay high licence fees - E10m (Russian MTS) and E11m (joint MTS). The joint venture payments were split into two parts with E6m to be paid by the end of 2007.
According to Russian-Belarusian MTS plans for 2003, E60m will be invested in telecoms infrastructure in Belarus and with the fast roll out of infrastructure, it is possible that MTS will become a leading operator in Belarus in the near future.
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