MTS to spend $1.6 bln on Russian 3G

ST PETERSBURG, Russia Wed May 28, 2008 8:47am EDT

ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) - Russia's largest cellphone operator, Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) (MBT.N), plans to spend up to $1.6 billion on a third-generation (3G) network in Russia through to 2012, it said on Wednesday.

"We have so far invested 5 percent of that sum," Vyacheslav Nikolayev, deputy head of the MTS Russian business unit, told a news conference devoted to the commercial launch of 3G in Russia's second city of St Petersburg.

Nikolayev said MTS expected to receive additional revenue of $2.5 billion from 3G services including $2 billion in Russia by 2011.

MTS is also planning to launch the 3G network in former Soviet states Uzbekistan in the first quarter of 2009 and in Armenia before the end of next year. It also has plans to launch the network in Belarus.

(Reporting by Denis Pinchuk; Writing by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Quentin Bryar)

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