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By the end of 2012 "Rostelecom" will eliminate 10 of its mobile brands, which operator uses for regional subsidiaries and branches, replacing them by the brand of its own. At the same time it promises to launch several 3G-netwoks and even 4G ones.
"Rostelecom" starts to provide mobile communication services under one unified brand, said its business manager Pavel Zaitsev. From today on, the brand of "Rostelecom" labeled mobile services in 21 regions, where the quality and coverage area are on the maximum level. In the remaining seven regions it will happen in early 2012 (in total "Rostelecom" and it subsidiaries have 12.6 million cellular subscribers in 28 regions). Until mid-2012 services will be provided under the dual brand (for instance - "Rostelecom - Utel"). The exception will be made for "Volgograd-GSM", recently redeemed by "Rostelecom" from SMARTS: it will be renamed immediately.
To promote all services of "Rostelecom", including mobile communications, an image of Knopkins family will be used, created by the agency TLC (Leo Burnett) and based on situational comedies - sitcoms. When promoting mobile services Knopkins will be featured even in the name of the federal tariff plans. On December 1, will be launched an advertising campaign on this concept, which will be broadcast on the federal channels in Russia's regions.
As of now, "Rostelecom" works in two mobile standards - GSM and CDMA. In addition, it has a license for mobile data transmission in 39 regions - "Rostelecom" plans to build there network of the fourth generation (4G) in the standard of LTE. And before the end of 2011 it intends to buy out from its largest shareholder - the holding company "Svyazinvest" - another cellular operator, "Sky Link". This will add existing CDMA-network in 36 regions plus a license for the frequencies for CDMA in another 33, for GSM - in another 45 and for UMTS (the most common 3G-technology) - in 73 (in many regionsthe licenses are overlapped).
"Rostelecom" considers "Sky Link" as the frequency resource, said yesterday the executive director - the director of management and development of wireless assets of "Rostelecom" and CEO of "Sky Link" Vladislav Shvaybovich. Until the end of 2012 he promises to launch 3G on frequencies of "Sky Link" in the cities where "Rostelecom" or subsidiaries have developed GSM-network (that is cities with a population over 300,000 inhabitants), as well as in Moscow and St. Petersburg. And in some cities having over one million people LTE networks will be built together with partners that have a frequency (with "Scartel" in Moscow and "Megafon" in Sochi).
Mobile business of "Rostelecom" will require in 2012 the largest investment, says Shvaybovich. Previously, the company promised that in the next five years its CAPEX will average to 20% of its revenues. In 2010 it was 18.8% - "Rostelecom" has invested 51.8 billion rubles, primarily in the fixed Internet access. In 2012, capital investments will exceed 20% of revenues, says the manager of "Rostelecom", although the budget has not been yet approved and investments in mobile communications might not be given highest priority.