Russian mobile operator Mobile Telesystems (MTS) reported third quarter net profit fell 21.3% to USD515.6 million from USD654.7 million a year ago, as the weakening of the ruble against the dollar made its foreign debt more expensive. The operator has cut capital spending plans for the remainder of the year to USD2 billion from an earlier estimate of USD2.5 billion. In the three months to 30 September 2008 revenue rose 27% to USD2.81 billion and operating income before depreciation and amortisation (OIBDA) rose 23.7% year-on-year to USD1.45 billion.
The group has operations in Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Armenia and Belarus and saw overall subscriber figures increase by almost 600,000 in the quarter to take the total to 87.57 million. In Russia MTS added 500,000 new customers, to reach a total of 61.88 million as of 30 September. The quarter saw the launch of additional 3G networks in Novosibirsk, Norilsk and Vladivostok in September 2008, and the launch of a 3G test zone in Uzbekistan in October.