|Traded as||MCX: MFON
|Key people||Ivan Tavrin, CEO (2012)|
|Products||Mobile networks, fixed-line telephony|
|Revenue||$8.3 billion USD (2011)|
|Net income||$1.5 billion USD (2011)|
MegaFon (Russian: МегаФон), previously known as North-West GSM, is the second largest mobile phone operator and the fourth largest telecom operator in Russia. It works in the GSM and UMTS standard. Its main competitors are VimpelCom (Beeline) and Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) in the cellular segment, and Rostelecom and Interregional TransitTelekom in the fixed-line seagment. As of June 2012, the company serves 62.1 mln subscribers in Russia and 1.6 mln in Tajikistan, South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Its headquarters are located in Moscow.
In 2002 the company changed its name from North-West GSM to MegaFon when it acquired several regional companies, becoming the first GSM company in Russia to cover all its territory. The name "MegaFon" in Russian looks exactly like the word for a megaphone; other connotations are mega- as "big" and fon as "telephone".
June 17, 1993 was the registration date of North-West GSM CJSC (Saint Petersburg). Alexander Malyshev became the first General Director. The major international investors included Scandinavian companies Sonera (Finland), Telia International AB (Sweden) and Telenor Invest AS (Norway). Telecommunication equipment was supplied by Nokia.
1999 – number of the company’s subscribers became over 100,000. By that time the network of the North-West GSM had completely covered Saint Petersburg and Leningrad region, it was also actively expanding in the northern areas of the Russian North-West.
July 1999 – North-West GSM was the first Russian operator that signed roaming agreements with all countries in Europe. The same year, for the first time ever in Russia, mobile communication started to operate in Saint Petersburg metro, and the operator’s spectrum of value-added services included WAP-access to the Internet.
May 2002 – number of North-West GSM subscribers became over 1 million.
May 7, 2002 – in the course of rebranding North-West GSM CJSC was renamed to MegaFon OJSC. Rebranding of the company was started on April 28, 2002 by change of the logo. At that moment, North-West GSM was merged with Sonic Duo CJSC (Moscow), Ural GSM CJSC (Yekaterinburg), Mobicom-Kavkaz CJSC (Krasnodar), Mobicom-Center CJSC, Mobicom-Novosibirsk CJSC, Mobicom-Khabarovsk CJSC, MCS-Povolzhie OJSC, Volzhsky GSM (Saransk, Republic of Mordovia).
On October 2, 2008, MegaFon launched for operation the first Russian fragment of the third generation network in IMT-2000/UMTS (3G) at the territory of Saint Petersburg and Leningrad region. For the first time ever in this country the radio access sub-system UTRAN (UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access Network) was launched for trial commercial operation and included 30 base stations. And already on October 24, 2007, MegaFon announced about start of 3G service in Saint Petersburg and Leningrad region. For the first time in Russia, the following services became available for mass users: Internet access at the data transmission speed that is 10-fold higher than in the existing GSM networks (2G and 2,5G) of GPRS/EDGE technology, high-quality Mobile TV, video communication.
December 2008 – the extraordinary General Shareholders Meeting of MegaFon took a resolution on reorganization of MegaFon OJSC in the form of its merger with Sonic Duo CJSC (Moscow), Ural GSM CJSC (Yekaterinburg), Mobicom-Kavkaz CJSC (Krasnodar), Mobicom-Center CJSC, Mobicom-Novosibirsk CJSC, Mobicom-Khabarovsk CJSC, MCS-Povolzhie OJSC. The number of subscribers exceeded 43.2 million.
On July 1, 2009, reorganization was completed, and now mobile communication services in Russia are provided by the North-West, Stolichny, Kavkaz, Center, Volga, Ural, Siberia and Far East branches of MegaFon OJSC.
On September 25, 2009, it was announced about rebranding of TT mobile CJSC, subsidiary of MegaFon that provided telecom services under the brand of MLT – “Mobile Lines of Tajikistan”. The new company’s name is MegaFon-Tajikistan.
In June 2010, MegaFon acquired 100% shares of Synterra company, which was a move to strengthen network infrastructure and enhance the positions in the markets of long-distance communication, fixed and mobile broadband access to the Internet, as well as convergence services.
In November 2011, MegaFon signed a partnership agreement with Scartel on joint development of the Forth Generation networks LTE (Long Term Evolution) in Russia. As a result, the company got the opportunity to provide LTE 4G services using Scartel’s equipment. In its turn, Scartel will be able to use MegaFon’s infrastructure.
In December 2011, the company created MegaLabs, 100% subsidiary, which is the single center of innovative design and prompt launch of value-added services. The new company is focused on fast introduction of advanced products and services to the market (content and media, mobile finance, mobile advertising, clod solutions, М2М, e-government, m-health, etc.) through efficient partnership with well-known market players and young teams of developers. At the same time, MegaLabs is a platform for experimental designs by MegaFon.
In August 2012 MegaFon released its first Smartphone called Megafon Mint in Russia with the new Intel Atom (system on chip). On December 2013 the company received a licence for cable television broadcasting.
On January 2014 the company has launched international roaming data networks in the fourth generation. The first countries where service is available are Switzerland and South Korea. The same month MegaFon CEO Ivan Tavrin obtained a 12% stake of VK.com, Russia's most popular social networking website, from VK's founder Pavel Durov.
On February 2014 board of directors of MegaFon has approved a deal to buy a 100% voting stake in SMARTS Volgograd, a unit of mobile firm SMARTS which covers the Volga and central regions of the country.
In same month, MegaFon commercially launched fragment network LTE Advanced (LTE-A) within the Garden Ring in Moscow. Formerly MegaFon network tested LTE-A in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. For this Megafon uses bands in the range 2600 MHz own unique combination of frequency spectrum and network resource of Skartel as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO).
Owners and management
The Company was founded by the largest foreign investors: Sonera (Finland), Telia International AB (Sweden) now merged into TeliaSonera, along with Telenor Invest AS (Norway). Telecom equipment was purchased from Nokia.
The owners of the Company as of March 2011 are as follows:
- TeliaSonera – owns 35.6% shares directly and 8.2% through Telecominvest;
- AF Telecom (owner – Alisher Usmanov) owns – 8% shares directly and 23.1% through Telecominvest;
- Altimo (owner – Alfa Group) owns – 25.1%.
Jeffrey Galmond, a Danish lawyer publicly claims to own and control Telecominvest, but it is rumored to in fact represent the personal interests of former Russian telecommunications minister Leonid Reiman.
Unlike other companies from the Big Three, MegaFon is not a public company, therefore it does not have to disclose all the information on the Company’s business (for example: it does not publish quarterly reports of the issuer of securities).
Megafon outside Russia
The Georgian National Communication Commission has accused the Russian mobile telecommunications company MegaFon of illegal business operations and participation in the military and economic annexation of Georgia.
According to the GNCC, “MegaFon” has provided unlicensed mobile phone coverage in the conflict zones of Georgia beginning in 2005, in particular – the South Ossetia region. The company covered mostly the areas of dislocation of the Russian military forces present in Georgia under the CIS peacekeeping mandate. The rest of the area was mostly covered by the Georgian mobile phone carriers “Geocell” Ltd. and “Magticom". In the spring of 2008, GNCC received complaints from Georgian mobile communication companies regarding the destruction of their communication facilities in the region and installation of MegaFon antennas. The GNCC conducted survey monitoring trips to establish the presence of MegaFon’s unlicensed coverage. The GNCC has imposed two fines on MegaFon: the first – in the amount of 5000 GEL (3750 USD) in July 2008, and the second, for the recurrence of violation in the amount of 500,000 GEL (approx. 350,000 USD) in September 2008.
Because Georgian law envisages criminal liability for illegal business activities, the GNCC has notified the General Prosecutor of Georgia on the alleged violations committed by MegaFon. The Prosecutor General of Georgia is expected to initiate criminal proceedings against key officials of MegaFon.
On October 2, 2008, Tbilisi City Court upheld the decision of GNCC, finding MegaFon liable for providing unlicensed telecommunication services in Georgia.
MegaFon’s appeal of the second administrative fine shall be heard by Tbilisi City Court in November 2008.
Kommersant reported on September 7, 2006 that MegaFon is negotiating in buying an 85% stake in Uzbek mobile operator Coscom from the MCT Corpation. The other 15% stake in Coscom would be held by Coscom management and private shareholders. Analysts estimated Coscom is worth between USD $180–200 million. Coscom's has over 300,000 customers.
- Megafon is sponsor of KHL
- For the 2009 Formula One season, MegaFon was one of the sponsors for the Renault F1 Team.
- Megafon is a national partner for 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014
By November 2012 MegaFon received a number of orders from Russian telecommunication and consumer market authorities to amend contracts with its 63 million subscribers and to make these contracts compliant with requirements of Russian law. All MegaFon's attempts to challenge these orders in Russian arbitration courts were unsuccessful.
MegaFon violated consumer rights a number of times in 2012 calendar year. Following the recent changes of Russian law (Article 40 in RF Law on February 7, 1992 year No. 2300-1 "On Protection of Consumer Rights"), competent authorities may demand an immediate liquidation of the company.
MegaFon did not meet requirements of Russian legislation and never reported Federal Communications Agency (Rossvyaz) of any certificates of compliance that its billing system is required to have.
- "МегаФон" больше не третий Kommersant
- AC&M Consulting: 2Q12 Cellular data
- "МегаФон" отметил свое 15-летие в Северной столице"
- "Как закалялась сталь" ComNews
- "1993-1994. Как на ваше дело повлияла сотовая связь?" Kommersant
- "История бренда МегаФон" Brandpedia
- "По итогам 1999 года абонентская база Северо-Западного GSM составила около 140 тысяч человек."
- "Совет директоров и акционеры "Северо-Западного GSM" одобрили план развития компании"
- "Северо-Западный GSM" обрел федеральность" ComNews
- "Количество абонентов «Северо-Западного GSM» превысило 600 тыс. человек."
- "Северо-Западный GSM" приступил к реализации проекта сотовой связи в Таджикистане"
- "К сети "Северо-Западного GSM" подключился миллионный абонент"
- "OJSC MegaFon Company Profile on Rustelecom" Rustelecom
- "Северо-Западный GSM" внедрил WAP-технологию"
- "Северо-Западный GSM" уничтожит свой логотип и название"
- "ЗАО "Северо-Западный GSM" изменило структуру собственности"
- "ЗАО "Северо-Западный GSM" изменило свой юридический статус и стало основой проекта "МегаФон"
- "MegaFon builds up first 3G network fragment in Russia" CNews
- "Megafon launches first 3G network in Russia" Pravda.ru
- "МегаФон" готовится к реорганизации" ComNews
- "МегаФон" готовится к реорганизации" Sotovik
- "МегаФон" создает дискаунтера "Просто для общения""
- "У "МегаФона" все не "Просто" Kommersant
- "МегаФон «Просто»: четвертый не лишний, четвертый запасной?" Mobile-review.com
- "МегаФон" завершил процесс реорганизации"
- "МегаФон реорганизовался"
- "Megafon rebrands MLT as Megafon Tajikistan" TelecomPaper
- "Kazakhstan and Central Asia Telecommunications Report Q4 2011" Research and Markets
- "Tajiks say ‘no’ to Megafon brand" TeleGeography
- "Russia inks telecoms cooperation pact with South Ossetia; MegaFon launches 3G through Ostelekom" TeleGeography
- "South Ossetia Gets Connected"
- "MegaFon opened network 3G South Ossetia"
- "МегаФон" запустил 3G в Южной Осетии" CNews
- "MegaFon buys Russian operator for $710 mln -source" Reuters
- "MegaFon" buy "Synterra" '
- "MegaFon consolidating PeterStar" TeleGeography
- "Synterra" went to MegaFon"
- "MegaFon set on PeterStar buy to consolidate northwest ops"
- "MegaFon boosts Q3 net profit by 23.1 pct to 14 bln rbls" RIA Novosti
- "MegaFon boosts Q3 net profit by 23.1% to RUB 14bn"
- "Megafon Q3 Revenue Rises By 23% (Russia)"
- "MegaFon S.A. 3rd Quarter Results" Bloomberg
- "МегаФон: итоги 2010 - рост выручки и доли VAS-услуг"
- "Финансовый отчет «МегаФона» за III квартал 2011 года (полная версия)"
- "Мегафон" занял второе место в "большой тройке" операторов" Lenta.ru
- "MegaFon sees FY10 revenues increase 18.5% to RUB215.5 billion" TeleGeography
- "Мегафон обогнал Вымпелком по количеству обслуживаемых абонентов"
- "Перестановки в "большой тройке"
- "МегаФон" впервые обогнал "ВымпелКом" по количеству абонентов"
- "Мегафон" обогнал "Билайн"
- "МегаФон" заявил о рекордной выручке в 2010 году" Lenta.ru
- "МегаФон": "Мы вышли на второе место по выручке в России"
- "Ведомости": "Мегафон" обогнал "Вымпелком" по объему выручки"
- "Серебро для "Мегафона" Vedomosti
- "Yota targets Moscow LTE launch in April; MegaFon to piggyback as MVNO" TeleGeography
- "MegaFon's Agreement with Scartel on LTE Technology Is Credit Positive"
- "Megafon plans LTE launch on Yota network in H1" TelecomPaper
- "Megafon to outsource VAS to subsidiary" TelecomPaper
- "МегаФон" выводит MegaLabs" Sotovik.ru
- "MegaFon Announces its First Smartphone with Intel Inside®" intel.com
- "МегаФон" получил лицензию на кабельное вещание
- ""МегаФон" отправил четвертое поколение за рубеж". comnews.ru. 30 January 2014. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
- Maria Kiselyova. "Usmanov tightens hold on Russian social net VKontakte as founder sells stake". The West Australian (Reuters). Retrieved 18 February 2014.
- "Russia’s MegaFon board approves buying SMARTS’ Volgograd unit". Prime. 13 February 2014. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
- LTE продвинулось в Москве
- Venäläisministeri paljastui TeliaSoneran liikekumppaniksi (Finnish) Russian minister is revealed as TeliaSonera's secret business partner in Russia - Digitoday 24 May 2006
- BBCPersian.com | اقتصاد و بازرگانی | گشایش دفتر شرکت مگافون روسیه در تهران
- Comments from Roskomnadzor as of 23 September 2011 (Russian)
- Arbitration case А63-11458/2010
- Arbitration case А37-395/2011
- Arbitration case A68-1413/2012
- Arbitration case A73-4102/2012
- Arbitration case A37-2296/2011
- Federal register of certificates of compliance for telecommunication units
- Helsingin Sanomat 28 March 2006 (Finnish)
- Russia at Heart of German Probe – Moscow Times July 26, 2005
- European Commission to investigate TeliaSonera deals in Russia – Helsingin Sanomat 28 March 2006
- MegaFon English corporate site
- Alfa Group Accused of Bribing to Buy MegaFon June 13, 2006
- Reuters: Georgia's Communications Commission Fines Russia's Megafon; Decries 'Economic Annexation'
- Reuters:Georgia threatens to multiply Russia MegaFon fine
- Reuters: Georgia files charges against Russia's MegaFon
- Reuters: Megafon Goes to Court in Georgia over Disputed South Ossetia Operations
- EurasiaNet: THE FIGHT BETWEEN TBILISI AND MOSCOW OVER SOUTH OSSETIA GOES CELLULAR
- Reuters: Court Upholds Fine Against Megafon for Illegal Operations in Georgia
- Guardian: Dreams of empire strike back Q: What do Osama bin Laden and Vladimir Putin have in common? A: Worrying ambitions to reverse imperial decline
- Unofficial MegaFon page