MegaFon has announced the launch of its LTE network in Novosibirsk under an MVNO deal with Yota. The operator says it plans to launch LTE in Moscow, Krasnodar and Sochi during the first half of this year, and in additional cities including Saint Petersburg, Samara, Vladivostok, Ufa and Kostroma by the end of 2012. The company is selling a 4G-enabled modem for RUB2,990 (approximately USD100), and new 4G subscribers will have free internet access until 30 June. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Megafon finished 2011 with 61.6 million subscribers in Russia, giving it a 24.1% share of the country’s subscriber market.
Meanwhile, Reuters reports that MegaFon has confirmed plans for an IPO in London after shareholders agreed to an ownership shake-up. Altimo is to sell its ownership in MegaFon in two stages: 14.4% to a subsidiary of MegaFon for USD2.16 billion, while the remaining 10.7% will be sold to Alisher Usmanov’s AF Telecom for USD1.61 billion. Fellow shareholder TeliaSonera will reduce its stake in MegaFon to 35.6% initially, and then to 25% plus one share after the IPO. Both Altimo and TeliaSonera will also receive their share of a dividend worth USD5.15 billion.