Belarusian mobile operator Belarus Telecommunications Network (BeST), a state owned joint venture of Agat (75%) and national PTO Beltelecom (25%), says it has spent USD200 million to date to develop its networks. The sum is part of a USD234 million loan it secured from a Chinese partner. BeST, which launched services in the capital Minsk on 11 December 2005 and signed up close to 1,500 users in its first few weeks of operations, had 156,000 subscribers as at 1 August, up from 149,000 at end-June. The company’s network comprises 232 BTSs and covers 12.7% of the territory inhabited by 48.2% of the population. In addition, it has a chain of 241 dealers and retail outlets. Online portal e-Belarus.org says that by the end of 2007 BeST plans to have extended its network to 90% of the territory. It is also looking to sign up a million subscribers by 2009 in order to break even by that date.
In a separate story, Beltelecom says it is planning to double the number of xDSL ports on its network from 40,000 to 80,000 by the end of this year. The PTO began to develop its broadband internet access networks in 2003 and has marketed ADSL services under the Byfly banner since 2006.