Primoye-based wireless operator Primtelefone has announced its rebranding under the MTS banner. MobileTeleSystems (MTS) bought a 50% stake in the cellco last August, in an effort to expand its reach into the Far Eastern region of Russia. The completion of the acquisition allows MTS to claim coverage of 72 regions and a population of 184.1 million. Primtelefone – which was established in 1995 as a joint venture between local telephone company Dalsvyaz and the Virginia-based MCT Corporation – boasted 110,200 customers to its GSM-900/1800 network at the end of 2003. MTS has pledged to invest USD54 million into the company this year, expanding the network to the cities of Kamchatka, Magadan, Chita and Buryatia.