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Russia’s MTS entering pay-TV market?

Russia’s largest cellular phone operator MTS (Mobile TeleSystems) is reportedly about to enter the pay-TV market. Russian news site Comnews.Ru suggests that the business will extend the existing service based in and around Moscow and which had a ‘soft’ launch last November, and the Russian ‘far East’, to a nationwide DTH service.

Few doubt that MTS has the financial muscle to start a competitive service. It currently has more than 100 million cellular and fixed-line subscribers spread across Russian and nearby countries such as the Ukraine, Armenia, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

However, it will be up against tough competition from the likes of Tricolor TV (which claims a 76 per cent market share), Orion Express (16 per cent) and NTV-Plus (5.3 per cent).

MTS, now a part of the AFK Sistema Group, also has businesses in India, and is quoted on the New York Stock Exchange. It is the only Russian company to be recognised as one of the world’s ‘Top 100’ most powerful brands

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