MTS Ukraine is considering purchasing the rights to use the brand of a major international telecoms group such as Vodafone, in an effort to mask the connection between the Ukrainian cellco and its Russian parent, Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), amid ongoing tensions between the two countries. According to Russian business daily Vedomosti, which quotes company insiders, MTS has been considering a re-branding exercise for over a year, and initially entered into discussions with Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, although the talks failed to yield an agreement.
Vedomosti notes that MTS already has a wider deal with Vodafone in place. Dating back to 2008, and due to expire at the end of this year, it allows the companies to share marketing and technological expertise, as well as jointly purchase equipment.
Vodafone currently has around 40 ‘Partner Market’ agreements, which are defined thus: ‘Under the terms of these Partner Market agreements, the Group and its partners cooperate in the development and marketing of certain services, often under dual brand logos. The Group’s partner market strategy enables the Group to implement its global services in new territories, extend its brand reach into new markets and create additional revenue without the need for equity investment’.