Russian mobile operator MegaFon reported that its telecoms segment revenue increased by 4.1% year-on-year to RUB84.641 billion (USD1.479 billion) in the fourth quarter of 2017, whilst adjusted quarterly EBITDA decreased by 0.6% y-o-y to RUB28.865 billion. Three-month net profit was RUB3.037 billion (53.1% lower than in 4Q16) whilst telecom segment CAPEX reached RUB22.133 billion in October-December 2017, 17.2% lower than 4Q16 spending. The number of consolidated group mobile subscribers as of 31 December 2017 was ‘stable’ at around 77.1 million – including Russia, Tajikistan and two breakaway Georgian republics. MegaFon reported 75.445 million Russian cellular subscribers (including M2M connections) at end-2017, down by 0.2% year-on-year, noting in a press release that the company’s main focus is not on pure volume growth.
MegaFon reported 18.4 million LTE-enabled devices registered on its Russian network at end-2017, up by roughly eight million year-on-year. At that date its LTE network covered 83 Federal regions (i.e. all except Russian-occupied Crimea/Sevastopol) and 74% of the population (up from 65% at end-2016), whilst LTE-A coverage reached 38 Federal regions by end-2017.
It has also been revealed that MegaFon’s sub-brand MVNO VKmobile will be closed down due to disappointing take-up, despite only launching in July 2017. VKmobile was integrated with online social media network VKontakte, itself indirectly owned by MegaFon via its 63.8% stake in Mail.ru Group. Commercial director Vlad Wolfson was quoted by TelecomDaily explaining that ‘as a standalone brand, this MVNO operator did not live up to our expectations. It became clear that VKmobile will not develop at the rate we want.’