Russia’s Information and Communications Ministry’s Science and Technology Council is creating two experimental mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) zones to test the ground for the full-blown implementation of services, possibly by the end of the year. The Communications Minister, Leonid Reiman, has also promised legislative guarantees to allow users to retain their cellphone number when switching service provider as Russia looks to transform the country’s mobile market. Two companies, Narodny Mobilny Telefon (Popular Mobile Phone) and Eurosat, were set up as MVNO projects in 2004 and have already received licences. The former was established with the support of the Moscow government to provide services to underprivileged Moscovites with ‘easy-term tariff plans’. Narodny Mobilny Telefon says it has also set up a regional partner deal with Tele2 Russia and hopes to offer services on over the company’s GSM networks. Meanwhile, Euroset is a private company 51% owned by Euroset Federal Network, which has yet to decide where to pilot MVNO services. Both companies are due to begin their six month tests in April.