Russian telecoms giant MobileTeleSystems (MTS) has announced that it has acquired a 100% stake in regional cableco Intercom from a private investor. According to MTS, Intercom, which is active in Volzhsk, the second largest city in the Mari El Republic, has a 99% market share in the local cable TV market and a 67% share of the broadband sector. The company’s network also incorporates fibre-to-the-building (FTTB) technology and covers almost all territory in the region. Announcing the RUB90 million (USD2.82 million) deal, Andrei Revkov, MTS’ director for the Volga Region, commented: ‘With this acquisition MTS enters the fixed line services market in Mari El. The transaction is in line with MTS’s strategy aimed at building the leading integrated operator in Russia. MTS already has fixed-line operations in twelve [of the fourteen subjects of the] Volga Federal District. This transaction is a key step in strengthening our competitive position in this market’.
The announcement follows hot on the heels from reports that MTS also acquired a 100% stake in an additional fixed line operator, Efcom, which operates under the ‘Elf’ brand. Elf offers fixed broadband and pay-TV services in Belgorod and the surrounding region. Elf’s network passes 51,000 households, and the company claims 18,000 broadband subscribers and around 33,000 pay-TV customers. The acquisition allows MTS to claim network coverage of up to 95% of Belgorod. The purchase price amounts to RUB220 million. The MTS Group now offers fixed line services in over 150 cities throughout Russia.