Russian mobile, broadband and fixed line operator Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) is planning to launch an over-the-top (OTT) service in August under the ‘MTS TV’ banner aimed at connected TV (smart TV) users, Comnews reports. Developed in collaboration with SPB TV, the OTT service will offer 130 TV channels plus on-demand film and TV series content, and will also be accessible on smartphones, tablets, laptops and PCs. LG is the first smart TV manufacturer to partner the MTS TV service, but a spokesperson for MTS indicated that by the end of the year Samsung and all other connected TV makers should be onboard. Smart models accounted for nearly 40% of new TV sales in Russia last year, and the total in usage are forecast to reach close to 30 million or around 22% of the country’s installed TV base by 2017.
In a separate announcement, MTS – which is Russia’s largest cellco by subscribers – and Swedish vendor Ericsson have completed the first live deployment of the Ericsson Radio Dot System in a commercial building in Russia, to boost indoor mobile network coverage and capacity for 3G users. With the first installment at a 50,000-square metre shopping mall in Astrakhan, the Radio Dot with Carrier Aggregation functionality gives users an average mobile data speed of 14Mbps.
Elsewhere, MTS has agreed to acquire 100% of NVision Group, ‘one of the largest system integrators and complex IT solutions providers in Russia’ which is also the owner of MTS’ billing system, from subsidiaries of Sistema – the parent company of MTS – for RUB15 billion (USD253 million) including debt. In the first stage of the transaction, MTS has acquired NVision Group subsidiaries including 100% of SITRONICS Telecom Solutions CJSC. MTS’ announcement said that gaining control over its billing system will reduce time-to-market for new products and reduce billing and IT-related expenses.