Since March, 15, Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) Belarus, the largest mobile operator in Belarus with 2.25 million subscribers, has put into operation its GPRS network. GPRS-WAP and MMS became available for MTS subscribers as well. MMS-center and WAP-gateway equipment have been provided by Ericsson.The testing period started on March 1, 2006 when GPRS-Internet service became available for MTS subscribers in Minsk city and the region.
In the beginning of April, MTS will launch International GPRS-roaming services
And, in the near future, the company is planning to provide hi-tech services based on GPRS and MMS technologies.
On March 15,2006, Pavel Pavlovsky, MTS’ Russia foreign subsidiaries development department director announced that the company is ready to resume talks on buying a controlling stake in its affiliate MTS Belarus. At present, MTS holds a 49% stake in MTS Belarus, while the Belarusian government holds the other 51%.
At the moment MTS Belarus is worth U.S. $700 million, Pavlovsky said, adding that its value may increase to $1 billion. A price of $350 million for half of the company seems reasonable. We are ready to consider (such an offer), Pavlovsky said.
However, Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko said in early March that Belarus would not give up control of its cellular assets in the country, including MTS’ subsidiary. Lukashenko said the Belarusian government had been offered $350 million for a controlling stake in MTS Belarus but had refused to sell.