Mobile phone industry in Russia
Initial selection of technological mobile standard in Russia had been left for market forces by issuing licenses for different standards. Later, regulatory authorities have developed stricter policy. However, there still exists a great variety of both analogue and digital standards. NMT standard was a first generation analogue mobile technology that still has footstep in Russia, employed by commercial mobile operators since the early 90s.
Regional operators have deployed the GSM networks in Russia since 1995, originally in the 900 MHZ frequency band. GSM standard is dominating in Russian mobile market with small number of NMT-450, AMPS/DAMPS subscribers.
In 1994, a joint venture of Moscow City Telephone Network, T-Mobile and Siemens, which later became part of Mobile TeleSystems, offered Russia's first mobile phone service for the public in Moscow. In the same year in June, VimpelCom also started Beeline mobile phone service.
In 2002, MegaFon was formed to provide all-Russia service, amalgamating Sonic Duo of Moscow, Mobikom-Novosibirsk, and other companies. In 2007, MegaFon started Russia's first 3G service in Saint Petersburg.
Russian WiMAX operator Scartel (Yota brand), finished in 2010 its implementation of a trial LTE network in Kazan and plans to deploy LTE networks in Novosibirsk and Samara. In July 2010 Scartel received approval from regulator Roskomnadzor to abandon WiMAX for LTE, re-using its existing spectrum. the regulator had however previously insisted that the frequencies allocated to Scartel for WiMAX could not be used for other access types.
On September 2012 MTS launched the country’s first TD-LTE network, using the TD-LTE spectrum in the 2595-2620 MHz band it secured in February. Nokia Siemens had provided its Single Radio Access Network using energy-efficient Flexi Multiradio Base Stations as well as its Liquid Core-based Evolved Packet Core platform.
On November 2013 Megafon began to provide the LTE network in the Republic of Kalmykia, the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, and the Altai Krai. The network was launched in major cities in the regions Elista , Noyabrsk, Novy Urengoy and Gorno-Altaisk.
On December 2013 Minister of Communications, Nikolai Nikiforov recalled that in 2011 270 base stations of LTE were launched, in 2012 about 4,000, in 2013 10,000 and it is planned that in 2014-2015 more than 15 thousand such stations.
Mobile phone service providers
There are three nationwide mobile phone service providers who possess 2G and 3G licenses in every region of Russia (so called Big-3):
Mobile TeleSystems (MTS, in Russian: Мобильные ТелеСистемы), 51% owned by AFK Sistema, provides mobile phone service, using 2G GSM technology, and initiated 3G service, using W-CDMA technology. It also provides fixed broadband services and fixed-line telephony services (in Moscow via its 99% subsidiary MGTS).
As of June 2012, MTS was the biggest mobile operator in Russia in terms of subscriber base with 69.6 mln subscribers (31% market share). It also had 35,7 mln subscribers in several CIS-countries, including Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Armenia and Belarus. As of January 2012, MTS had 2.1 mln residential fixed broadband subscribers (11% market share) being the biggest player on the Moscow market (940,000 subscribers, or 27% market share).
OJSC VimpelCom (fully owned by its parent company VimpelCom Ltd. incroporated in Bermuda) provides mobile services under Beeline brand, using 2G GSM and 3G (W-CDMA) technologies. In April 2011, VimpelCom closed the combination with Wind Telecom and turned into a global carrier operating in roughly 20 countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Italy (Wind), Algeria (Djezzy), CIS countries and other.
MegaFon (in Russian: МегаФон) is owned by Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov and TeliaSonera. The company provides 2G (GSM) and 3G (W-CDMA) mobile phone services. In April 2012, MegaFon was the first of Big-3 operators to launch 4G services. It is the only Big-3 company which remains private, yet rumours about company's possible IPO were circulating for several years. In June 2012 (after significant changes in shareholders structure) MegaFon confirmed that it is looking for going public in second half of the year in case market conditions will become «favourable» 
As of June 2012, MegaFon had 55.7 mln subscribers in Russia (27% market share). Unlike MTS and VimpelCom, Megafon has neither developed operations outside Russia (it has only 1.6 mln subscribers in Tajikistan, Osetia and Abkhazia) nor has focused on residential broadband services (its market share is below 4%, with most of subscribers in Moscow).
Rostelecom the largest fixed-line operator and former monopoly, together with its subsidiaries NSS, Baikalvestkom, Yeniseikom, SkyLink, Volgograd GSM and Akos provide mobile services on the territory of 59 regions of Russia, serving more than 13.5 million subscribers. During the 2010s, Rostelecom and its subsidiaries built mobile networks of the third generation in 27 regions of Russia. Total planned to install more than 8 thousand base stations. Suppliers of equipment and solutions for the 3G+ network are Ericsson and Huawei. Delta Telecom (in Russian: Дельта Телеком) offers Sky Link (in Russian: Скай Линк) service in northwest Russia and other areas, using 2G CDMA and 3G CDMA2000 technology.
Mobile phone industry
The mobile phone service provider licensing in Russia is under the control of Rospechat, the Federal Agency on Press and Mass Communications of Russia.
For new technologies, Russia's mobile phone industry has depended on overseas companies. For example, in 2009, MegaFon revealed that Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) was selected as the winner of its tender to building 3G network and that the following companies together would collaborate on MegaFon's 3G deployment and upgrades until 2010:
The Russian mobile phone service operators have been active in their presence in the CIS and other foreign countries. Beeline is already in Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Armenia. MegaFon is in Georgia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Iran. Mobile TeleSystems is in Armenia, Ukraine, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and India (using CDMA).
On December 4, 2013, the first Russian smartphone, Yotaphone was launched. YotaPhone is a smartphone with support for fourth generation networks, LTE. Feature of the device is the presence of a 4.3-inch screens on two sides: The LCD one is on the front, while the black and white screen with "electronic ink" is on the back side. The first device was awarded to Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev by Rostec state corporation head, Sergei Chemezov.
Number portability officialy became available in Russia on December 1, 2013. An appropriate legislation signed into law by President Vladimir Putin a year earlier, on December 26, 2012. Operators have repeatedly stated that the time allotted is not enough to run services. Within 12 days since the law came into force, 9090 subscribers filed applications to move to another operator, of which only 57 until satisfied.
- Telecommunications in Russia
- Federal Agency on Press and Mass Communications of Russia
- List of mobile network operators of Europe#Russian Federation
- The first Russian mobile phone
- Nordiac Mobile Telephone
- Global System For Mobile Communications
- History of Mobile TeleSystems
- History of VimpelCom
- History of MegaFon
- MegaFon starts 3G network. (2007)
- "MTS launches first TD-LTE network in Russia"
- ""МегаФон" добавил еще LTE". comnews.ru. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
- "Минкомсвязи верит в LTE". comnews.ru. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
- AC&M Consulting: 2Q12 Cellular data
- Russian Residential Broadband Data 2011
- VimpelCom: Business description
- MegaFon launches 4G services via Yota; resolves ownership disputes
- MegaFon CEO sees unfavourable markets for IPOs
- "Дочка "Ростелекома" начала тестирование сети 3G+ в Красноярске". comnews.ru. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
- CDG: CDMA networks in Russia
- Russia's three providers plan 3G
- MegaFon's 3G plan (2009)
- "В России стартовали продажи YotaPhone". ITAR TASS. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
- "Russian PM Medvedev receives dual-screen YotaPhone". Pravda. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
- "Абоненты начали голосовать ногами". comnews.ru. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
- "MNP разменяла первые десять тысяч". comnews.ru. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
- MegaFon official site
- Mobile TeleSystems official site
- VimpelCom official site
- Delta Telecom & Sky Link official site (in Russian)