According to Telecompaper, mobile operator Tele2 Russia is seeking support from Russia’s key regional governments in its attempt to secure a 3G licence. Citing a news story by RBC Daily, the website indicates that Tele2 Russia CEO Dmitriy Strashnov and Tele2 CEO Mats Granrid have staged meetings with representatives of several Russian regions, including government officials in Rostov, Voronezh and St Petersburg. Direct negotiations with the Ministry of Communications (MinSvyaz) regarding the issue have proved unsuccessful, leading the operator to seek regional support in order to realise its thwarted 3G ambitions. For his part, Strashnov has denied that the company is trying to lobby political support.
As noted by TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, despite solid gains in recent years, it seems certain that Tele2 will remain adrift of the so-called ‘Big Three’ mobile operators MegaFon, Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) and Vimpelcom – all of which boast well over 50 million subscribers apiece – until it secures an elusive 3G licence. In comparison to the rest of the wireless sector, Russia’s 3G market is underdeveloped, with its first concessions having only been awarded in 2007. The State Radio Frequency Commission (SRFC) announced details of the 3G licensing regime in December 2006, and as had been widely predicted, MTS, Vimpelcom and MegaFon duly received concessions in April 2007.