Following its mid-October acquisition of fixed line operator Comstar, Russian cellco Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) has purchased fibre-optic network operator Eurotel in a USD110 million deal. Eurotel’s network, which currently connects most of the major cities in the country, extends to 19,500km, increasing MTS’ backbone to around 35,000km in total. MTS president Mikhail Shamolin has said that the company will spend around USD200 million to expand its backbone network over the next three years to 60,000km-70,000km as it seeks to reposition itself as a leading integrated services provider.
Meanwhile, MTS has announced the launch of its first outdoor 3G network in Moscow. As reported by CommsUpdate on 15 December 2009, MTS, Vimpelcom and MegaFon were all given permission to roll out exterior services, which were previously prohibited as the relevant wireless spectrum had been reserved for military use, the release of which has faced multiple delays. With spectrum tied up, operators had previously had to make do with limited networks confined to indoor areas such as airports, train stations and other buildings. MTS plans to deploy 783 3G base stations in total, 300 of which it expects to have in operation by the end of January.