Russian business paper Vedomosti reports the country’s largest mobile operator, Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), has made an offer worth about USD1 billion to buy the Volga-based mobile operator SMARTS. In December 2007, Vimpelcom, Russia’s second largest cellco, failed in its attempt to buy the company as SMARTS was then registered as a private company and its shareholders first had to offer their stakes to other co-owners. However, the shareholders have since voted to change its status from a closed joint-stock company (CJSC) into an open joint-stock company (OJSC). SMARTS currently provides digital cellular services in 16 Russian regions covering approximately 34 million people. It claimed around four million subscribers at the end of 2007 according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database.