The UK’s Vodafone Group announced today in a press release the extension of its strategic partner market agreement with MTS Ukraine. The scope of the existing partnership between Vodafone and the Russian-owned cellco is being expanded, which will see the Vodafone brand being launched in Ukraine for 3G mobile services including ‘a number of new services … including bundled offers, competitive long-distance international calls and worry-free roaming when abroad.’ The two operators have worked together since the signing of their non-equity strategic agreement in 2008, via which MTS gained exclusive access in Ukraine to a range of products, services and devices from Vodafone for both consumer and corporate markets. The release adds that ‘the launch of 3G services under the Vodafone brand in Ukraine will commence in the coming months and will include the transition of MTS’s retail outlets and the majority of its dealerships. The Vodafone brand will not be used in territories currently not under the direct control of the Ukrainian government.’ TeleGeography notes that MTS Ukraine has been biding its time since its UMTS 2100MHz licensing in February this year, having introduced W-CDMA/HSPA services over its own network in limited areas thus far – whilst launching UMTS-based 3G services in March 2015 based on a national roaming agreement with smaller rival TriMob – in contrast to rivals Kyivstar and Astelit (Life:)) which were quicker to roll out wider commercial UMTS network coverage. An additional factor is MTS Ukraine’s existing 3G CDMA2000 1xEV-DO network.
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