Mobile operator Belarusian Telecommunications Network (BeST), which offers service under the banner life:), has announced a plan to overhaul its network infrastructure in the country. Under the upgrade, the details of which are sketchy, the cellco intends to replace outmoded equipment by switching to a new platform that will increase network capacity and improve the delivery of data transmission services. Ultimately the operator is looking to optimise the speed and reliability of its mobile internet services. The upgrade is designed to encompass the entire nationwide network and will be implemented on a region-by-region basis, starting in the Brest region.
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that BeST is 80%-owned by Turkish telecoms company Turkcell, with the remaining 20% in the hands of the Republic of Belarus through the Ministry of Communications and Informatisation. However, 2012/13 has been a troubled period for the company in terms of subscriber numbers and market share, following a decision in the first half of 2012 to switch off (i.e. churn out) lower value/non-active subscribers and focus instead on higher value ones. Having closed out 2011 with a total of 1.8 million connections, it shed a net 600,000 subscribers in the first six months of 2012 – including the loss of 500,000 lines in the April-June period alone. The downward trend continued unabated in the following nine months, with BeST reporting just one million active users at March 2013 – a market share of 9.0%, compared to 15.7% in December 2011.