Russian telecoms giants Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) and Rostelecom have formalised an agreement relating to joint access to infrastructure, the Moscow Times reports. The deal will allow for common use of communications lines, telecoms exchanges, cell towers and other property belonging to the two companies. The agreement will also reportedly gives MTS access to Rostelecom’s fibre-optic lines in areas where the state-owned company is the sole operator of trunk lines – particularly in some regions of Siberia and the Far East Federal District – whereas Rostelecom expects to boost its cellular coverage in areas where its base station coverage is sparse. Rostelecom’s trunk network stretches for 500,000km, while MTS currently has wireline infrastructure totalling around 117,000km. The shared usage of this fixed line infrastructure is expected to allow the pair to save around 10% per annum on their operating costs.
TeleGeography notes that the deal between MTS and Rostelecom is the latest in a series of anticipated tie-ups that have taken place within the Russian telecoms sector in recent months. In September 2011 MTS and Vimpelcom confirmed plans to collaborate on a joint infrastructure rollout to support their respective Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks. The two companies inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which will see them invest a total of USD2 billion in the project by the end of 2012. The first phase of investment will see the pair roll out 34 fibre-optic lines, spanning 4,500km, for LTE backhaul purposes. In the wake of the Vimpelcom/MTS collaboration, MegaFon and Rostelecom both stated their willingness to form alliances with other operators.