Belarusian GSM operator BeST's user base at 8,500 as of Jun 1

MINSK, June 1 (Prime-Tass) -- The subscriber base of state-controlled Belarus Telecommunications Network, or BeST, rose 13.3% in May to 8,500 users as of June 1, the company said in a press release Thursday.

BeST started commercial operations in the capital city of Minsk on December 21, 2005. The company currently operates 32 base stations and one switchboard in the capital.

The company plans to expand its network to all regional centers by the end of the first year of operations and to build a network covering a territory inhabited by 90% of the population by the end of the third year of operations.

Other mobile operators in Belarus, in addition to BeST, include two GSM operators, Mobile Digital Communications and Belarusian-Russian joint venture Mobile TeleSystems, or MTS Belarus, and BelCel, which operates in NMT450 and IMT-MC-450 standards.

Belarusian state-owned company Agat holds 75% stake in BeST, while state-controlled fixed-line monopoly Beltelecom holds a 25% stake in the company.