Russia’s largest fixed network operator Rostelecom has officially launched commercial mobile services under its own brand, based on an MVNO arrangement with its part-owned mobile network operating subsidiary Tele2 Russia. The cellular service is initially available for Rostelecom’s existing consumer and enterprise fixed telephony/broadband/IPTV customers in seven regions (oblasts) of the Urals federal district (Sverdlovsk, Kurgan, Chelyabinsk, Tyumen, Khanty-Mansiysk [Yugra], Yamalo-Nenets and Perm). All calls between Rostelecom fixed and mobile numbers are free, whilst the operator intends to expand the service nationally via the tie-up with Tele2. Rostelecom’s press release notes that the new service is aimed at users of all devices including smartphones, tablets and feature phones, whilst it plans to focus on quadruple-play packages supporting a single bill, a single personal account and a system of cross-discounts and bonuses for bundle subscribers, with a particular focus on offering savings benefits for data usage across multiple devices via combined packages for home and mobile internet.
In a process completed in August 2014, Rostelecom spun off its mobile assets and merged them with Tele2 Russia, in which it owns a 45% stake, TeleGeography notes. At the end of that year Rostelecom signed an agreement with Tele2 to allow it to operate pilot B2B MVNO services in the Urals, an agreement which the parties expanded in April 2016 to support a mass-market, national proposition of bundled quad-play services, with Rostelecom estimating that it could sign up 2.5 million MVNO users by 2020.