MTS (network provider)

This article is about the Russian mobile operator. For other telecommunications companies with the initials MTS, see MTS (disambiguation).
Mobile TeleSystems
Мобильные ТелеСистемы (МТС)
Public Joint-Stock Company (PJSC)
Industry Telecommunications
Founded 1993
Headquarters Moscow, Russia
Key people
Andrei Dubovskov
Products cellular network, local telephone service, broadband, mobile television, cable television, satellite television, digital television
Revenue Increase US$12.4 billion (2012)
Decrease US$1.0 billion (2012)
Number of employees
Parent Sistema

MTS (Russian: МТС "Мобильные ТелеСистемы", meaning "Mobile TeleSystems") is the largest mobile operator in Russia and CIS with over 102.4 million subscribers as of 31 December 2009.[1]

Having started in the Moscow license zone in 1994, МТS in 1997 received licenses for further areas and began expansion, later entering other countries of the CIS.


Country Operator Website
 Russia MTS Russia
 Ukraine MTS Ukraine
 Turkmenistan MTS Turkmenistan
 Uzbekistan UMS
 Armenia MTS Armenia
 Belarus MTS Belarus
 India MTS India

The MTS mobile network operates using the GSM standard. It currently holds licences to provide mobile services in 81 out of 83 regions in Russia and the entire territories of Armenia (VivaCell MTS), Ukraine, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan.[2][3][4] MTS is currently the biggest mobile operator in Central and Eastern Europe.[5]

On October 31, 2008, Vodafone announced a partnership deal with MTS, whereby Vodafone services will be available to MTS subscribers and both companies have noted the potential for more efficient purchasing.

In 2008, Sistema formed 74:26 joint venture with India’s Shyam Group to form Sistema Shyam Teleservices (SSTL), and acquired a pan-India license to provide CDMA services in the country. In March 2009, SSTL launched the MTS brand in the state of Tamil Nadu, followed by neighboring states Kerala and W. Bengal in April and May respectively. Following the cancellation of its licenses by the Supreme Court of India, MTS is present in 9 circles out of 22 telecom circles of India. Media reports suggest that the Russian government was planning to buy a 20% stake in SSTL for about $700000 million.

In 2009 MTS acquired several independent mobile retail chains, creating MTS monobrand retail network of 3300 stores - the second largest retail network in Russia. Also in 2009 MTS started marketing MTS-branded mobile handsets. Already in 2010 MTS became the 5th best selling handset brand in Russia, after Nokia, Samsung, LG and SonyEricsson.

In 2010 MTS announced acquisition of 62% of the stock of Comstar, the biggest Russian fixed internet and cable TV provider with 7.5 million of passed households.[6] Comstar products were re-branded to MTS in 2010, forming the largest Russian mobile and fixed telecommunications brand. Until this purchase, MTS was presented at the fixed telephony market through its subsidiary Moscow City Telephone Network (MGTS), which at 2013 served more than 4.4 million subscribers in Moscow and Moscow Oblast.

On November 2013, the company has launched the "Home phone MTS" in Ryazan, Oryol, Kirov, Krasnodar, Rostov-on-Don and Yekaterinburg. The subscription fee for the wired telephone is 100 rubles. Per month, it includes unlimited calls to numbers of local fixed-line operators. The cost of calls to mobile numbers range from 1.1 rubles per minute depending on the region. Prior to that, in several cities such services are also provided by Comstar, a subsidiary of MTS.[7]

During 2012-2013, MTS deployed FTTB network in nearly twenty new cities of the Far East, Siberia, Central, Volga and Ural federal districts. In 2012, MTS launched in all the cities where the DTV signal standard DVB-C, and in December 2013 a project to provide fixed telephony services to the mass market in the regions.[8]

In 2013 Interregional TransitTelekom won a tender held by MTS to provide IPX services, and became one of the service providers for the company in the international telecommunications market. In November 2013 MTS began offering their Russian customers LTE roaming service, after such agreement were signed first with South Korean operator SK Telecom and then with Saudi Arabia and Great Britain.[9] Along with the construction of the fixed network, the company launched in 2013 DVB-C digital television standard in Ulan-Ude, Blagoveshchensk, Ussuriisk and Nakhodka. In November 2013 MTS completely switched to digital TV by connecting new subscribers, ending the connection to analogue television.[10]

In October 2015 Mobile TeleSystems and Vodafone expanded their strategic partnership; this resulted in the rebranding of MTS Ukraine to Vodafone Ukraine.[11]


MTS was founded by Moscow City Telephone Network (Russian: Моско́вская Городска́я Телефо́нная Сеть - Moskovskaya Gorodskaya Telefonnaya Set'), Deutsсhe Telekom, Siemens AG and several other shareholders as the closed joint-stock company in October, 1993. Four Russian companies owned 53% of the stock, whereas two German companies had 47%. At the end of 1996 JSFC Sistema (Russian: АФК "Систе́ма" - AFK Sistema) has got a stock pack from the Russian holders of stocks, and DeTeMobil has redeemed stocks of company Siemens.

On March 1, 2000, as a result of a merger of JSC "MTS" and JSC "RTK", OJSC «Mobile TeleSystems» (Russian: Моби́льные Те́леСисте́мы - Mobil'niye Telesistemy) was formed. On April 28, 2000 the Federal commission under securities of the Russian Federation has registered initial stocks issue of OJSC "MTS".

Entry to NYSE

On 30 June 2000 stocks of MTS started trading on the New York Stock Exchange (Index MBT).

Foreign subsidiaries and associates

In June, 2002 MTS started a network in Belarus, as the junior partner in a joint venture.

In August, 2003 MTS finished purchasing UMC, the leader of the market of mobile communication in Ukraine. Brand UMC existed till mid-2007, when major rebranding campaign occurred turning UMC into MTS.

In July 2012, authorities in Uzbekistan announced the suspension of the operating license of MTS's subsidiary Uzdunrobita. Officials argued MTS-Uzbekistan has been responsible for a series of technical violations, and its operations have been suspended beginning on the evening of July 17. According to the MTS, the suspension could affect millions of Uzbek mobile phone users. An MTS statement said the firm has some 10 million clients among Uzbekistan’s population of 28 million.[12] The Russian Foreign Ministry reacted and declared his country is concerned about the situation with Mobile TeleSystems’ Uzbekistan subsidiary Uzdunrobita, after Uzbek authorities suspended the mobile operator’s license and put a senior official into custody. The dispute, which analysts fear may lead to MTS exiting the market, broke out at the beginning of 2012 when Uzbek authorities launched a near $1.3 million back-tax claim against MTS. MTS said in an e-mailed statement that the actions of the Uzbek authorities may be interpreted as “baseless attacks on the business of the Russian investor.”[13]


In May 2006 MTS changed their logo as a part of rebranding campaign performed by their mother company, JSFC Sistema. The logo now has two red squares next to each other. The left one, common in form (but not colour) to all JSFC Sistema's telecom subsidiaries, contains a white egg which symbolizes simplicity and genius, while the right square bears the name of the company: МТС (MTS). In 2010 MTS announced acquisition of Sistema Telecom, the owners of the MTS "egg" logo, for $380 million, thus becoming the sole owner of the logo.[14]

In 2008 the MTS brand was included in the Top 100 World's Most Powerful Brands list by Financial Times/Millward Brown ranking, becoming the most valuable Russian brand.[15] According to this ranking, in 2010 MTS brand was 72nd most valuable brand worldwide with the brand value of $9.7 billion. In 2010 MTS also became the most valuable Russian brand according to the Interbrand ranking.[16]


  1. "MTS Website - About". Retrieved 2010-10-22.
  2. "MTS Website - Licenses". Retrieved 2006-10-29.
  3. "MTS Website - Short summary (In Russian)". Retrieved 2006-10-29.
  4. (Ukrainian) MTS warns of SMS-spreading virus, Ukrayinska Pravda (3 September 2014)
  5. "MTS Website - Company History (In Russian)". Retrieved 2006-10-29.
  6. "MTS Website - Merger". Retrieved 2010-12-16.
  7. "МТС зафиксировалась в регионах~. Оператор займется местной связью - comnews". Retrieved 17 July 2015.
  8. "Топ Новости - Хроники российского ШПД-2013 - Telecom Daily". Retrieved 17 July 2015.
  9. "МТС добралась до Туманного Альбиона". 29 January 2014. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  10. "МТС на 60% расширила фиксированную сеть на Востоке России". 14 February 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  11. MTS Ukraine to operate under Vodafone brand, Interfax Ukraine (16 October 2015)
  12. "Uzbekistan Suspends MTS's License". The Gazette of Central Asia. Satrapia. 17 July 2012. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
  13. "Russian Foreign Ministry Concerned About Sanctions on MTS". The Gazette of Central Asia. Satrapia. 26 July 2012. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
  14. "RIA Novosti Russian news website". Retrieved 2010-12-16.
  15. "Millward Brown Optimor website". Retrieved 2010-12-16.
  16. "Interbrand website". Retrieved 2010-12-16.
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