In 2001 the Russian mobile market marked the 10th anniversary of its emergence. The anniversary year became a landmark in the history of the entire mobile industry in Russia. By late 2001 the Russian mobile market had become second largest in Central and Eastern Europe.
There was a qualitative change in operators connected to the MTT transit network, with 42 operators using the NMT-450 standard and 46 providers using GSM. Active cooperation with GSM operators demanded new services. On 7 February 2001 MTT announced new services, such as WAP-access and WAP-roaming. Operators without the necessary equipment used the WAP-access service under their own name. Operators with WAP equipment provided WAP services in roaming via MTT.
In 2001 MTT experts pondered the strategies to further promote the company in the regions. Although MTT paid operators’ share for access to the transit network, transit switching centres were still used to connect to MTT. The system lacked convenient uniform technical means to directly connect regional operators to the transit network. The decision was taken to create them.
MTT started building access nodes of the transit network. The new equipment to directly connect to MTT’s network significantly facilitated the interaction between regional mobile operators and Multiregional TransitTelecom. Each operator had an access point at hand. There was only a need to create the “last mile” to this AP, and the transit problem was solved. The access nodes reduced the cost of MTT’s services and allowed the company to reconsider and optimize its tariff policy. Access nodes were actively created, with the first 17 built in different regions within the first year.
In 2001 MTT took part in C7 Planning Meeting for the first time. The seminar can be traced back to the mid-1990s, when representatives of leading foreign telecom operators decided that there was a need for regular meetings to discuss further development and coordinate policies. The participants meet to discuss interaction rules and procedures between signalling providers of roaming in GSM networks. Since 2001 Multiregional TransitTelecom has engaged in the discussion on a par with internationally recognized providers using SS7. This close cooperation allows MTT to provide Russian subscribers with roaming in virtually any GSM network around the world.
MTT’s international activity is not confined to participation in C7 Planning Meeting. From its early days the operator has been willing to be viewed as a serious player in the telecommunications market. Already in 1995 MTT took part in the Geneva World Exhibition and Forum on Telecommunications and Information Technology ITU Telecom World (Switzerland), which is one of the most prestigious forums in the world of communication. MTT has participated in all subsequent events held in 1999 and 2003. In 1995 MTT’s participation was considered just a stepping stone, but in 2003 Multiregional TransitTelecom was regarded at ITU Telecom World as an operator, which is well-reputed and well known in the international arena, and whose opinion is valued by many participants. MTT also maintains contacts with international partners at international exhibitions held in Russia, including Norwecom, Sviaz-Expocomm, and Infocom, where it traditionally takes part. MTT’s representatives regularly make presentations and reports at seminars and conferences on the development prospects of Russia’s telecommunications market.
To study the development trends of telecommunications markets and to exchange experience MTT experts regularly attend international conferences and exhibitions of equipment and communication systems, including such important events as World 3GSM Congress (France), CeBIT (Germany) and Congress 3G (Asian states). Since 2001 MTT has been a full member of the NMT International Association (now called IA- 450) and an associate member of the GSM Association, and has regularly participated in meetings of the corresponding working groups.
By late 2001 Russia had 7.75 million subscribers of mobile networks, reports the Russian Ministry for Communications. The increase in the number of subscribers amounted to 238 % as compared with the 2000 results. Mobile communication was used by 5.5 % of the population, with the Central Federal District accounting for 12.6%, and the North -West for 7.3%. For other districts this figure ranged from 1.8 to 3.6%.