Russian wireless powerhouse Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) has celebrated seven years of business operations in the Republic of Belarus by announcing it is still interested in increasing its stake in MTS Belarus, from 49% to 51%. Local online journal e-Belarus quotes MTS general director Vladimir Karpovich as saying that the group would like to increase its shareholding, despite previous government opposition to such a plan. In 2008 the Russian offered the state USD200 million for the additional 2% controlling stake, or USD600 million to buy it out entirely, but the government refused and continues to control the cellco.
In a press conference, Mr Karpovich also confirmed that MTS plans to invest USD100 million into developing the Belarusian unit's network in 2009 to 'further increase coverage, in particular :. in agro-settlements'. In its first seven years in the country the Russian firm has hit several major milestones. It currently has 4.483 million subscribers; coverage of 95.17% of country's territory where 99.14% of the population lives; a network comprising 4,191 base stations in 21,591 settlements; total investments to date of USD648.2 million; and total revenues to date of USD1.754 billion.