Russia’s leading wireless operator by subscribers, Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), has reported a turnover of USD1.89 billion for the first nine months of 2005, up 24.48% on the same period of 2004. Net profit climbed 4.18% year-on-year to USD412 million, whilst gross earnings rose 22.6% to USD1.19 billion and pre-tax profit grew 9.5% to USD579.74 million. MTS reported subscriber gains of 2.03 million in September, including 1.57 million in Russia, to lift its consolidated subscriber base to 50.36 million at the end of the third quarter. The operator added 300,000 new users in the Moscow Region to end the period with 9.67 million customers, and reported 80,000 net gains in the lucrative St Petersburg market to boost its base there to 2.32 million. However, the majority of its new users were drawn from more rural parts of the country with MTS signing up more than 1.2 million new users across the rest of Russia in September to lift its total for the rest of the country to 26.88 million.
MTS’ overseas operations also reported healthy gains. In Ukraine, the cellco’s wholly owned subsidiary Ukrainian Mobile Communications (UMC) added 420,000 subscribers over the month to end September with 10.94 million. Uzdunrobita of Uzbekistan reported 490,000 customers, up from 460,000 at the end of August, while its newly acquired Turkmen unit Barash Communications was unchanged at 60,000. MTS also owns a 49% stake in MTS Belarus, which is not consolidated. The Minsk-based operator had 1.85 million subscribers at the end of September, up 70,000 on the previous month.