Mobile operator MTS Belarus closed out June 2013 with a total of 5.260 million customers, up from 5.239 million three months earlier, and 4.7% higher than the 5.023 million recorded at 30 June 2012. The cellco attributed the expansion to its efforts to improve its networks and services in the past twelve months. As part of these plans, in February this year it activated its third 3G/3G+ frequency channel in the country, to help increase throughput capacity on its W-CDMA networks. The 5MHz of additional frequencies in the 2100MHz band will be used via 500 base transceiver stations (BTS) around the Republic. The first BTS to use the third frequency channel was switched on at Independence Avenue in the capital, Minsk; the HSPA+ capable mobile sites support maximum download speeds of 21Mbps. Further, the cellco has reportedly switched on dual-carrier (DC)-HSPA+ technology in some parts of the country, offering peak transmission speeds of 42Mbps. MTS director Eugene Bryantsev notes that already more than a million of its customers are using smartphones in Belarus, double the figure reported at the start of the year, and that figure is forecast to grow sharply.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, MTS Belarus deployed 58 new BTS in the first six months of this year to improve coverage in a number of settlements. In the capital Minsk, MTS installed 24 new BTS in the April-June period, improving capacity and coverage in a number of areas, including the districts of Aksakovschina, Drazdova, Zhdanovichi and Maryalivo. Further, the cellco deployed coverage to the neighbourhood of Olsshanka in Grodno, as well as improving its signal in other areas of the city, such as Verbovoy Street and in the settlements of Grandichi and Malyschina. Meanwhile, in Brest, Vitebsk and Mogilev, new communications facilities were also installed in several streets, as well as in a number of smaller areas such as Valeykuny (Ostrovetskiy district), Volkova (Gorodksky district), Vygonichi (Volozhin district), Koptsevichi (Petrikovskii District), Granite (Lunietsky district), Obukhov (Orsha district) and Popelovo (Pruzhansky district).
To date MTS Belarus has rolled out a network of around 6,500 2G or 3G BTS, and its 3G services are available to 100% of inhabitants in Belarus’ cities and regional centres via more than 1,000 BTS.