Russian mobile giant MegaFon intends to abandon the well-known ‘Yota’ branding employed by its sister company Scartel, following its USD1.18 billion takeover of the Long Term Evolution (LTE) operator. According to an unconfirmed report by Izvestia.ru, which cites sources close to Scartel’s management, MegaFon is reluctant to develop the Yota brand any further and intends to phase it out as soon as the merger has been completed. Initially, sources said that MegaFon had considered preserving the Yota brand for high-end LTE users, but this strategy has now fallen by the wayside.
According to new data supplied by MegaFon, Yota currently claims a 4G user base of 648,000, with a footprint that covers around 27% of the Russian population. However, connectivity is restricted to USB dongles, with LTE-compatible smartphones not expected until at least 2014 – suggesting that all future wireless services will be offered through MegaFon rather than Yota.