Mobile giant's head promoted

One of Russia’s biggest conglomerates Sistema has appointed Mobile TeleSystems head Leonid Melamed as its new CEO. The announcement came on the day Eastern Europe’s biggest mobile operator launched Third Generation (3G) operations in Russia.

Melamed makes the step up to MTS's parent company, having more than tripled the mobile operator’s capitalisation to around $US35 billion.

According to market researchers Millward Brown, MTS is now Russia’s best-known brand.

MTS officials have demonstrated the video calls and mobile TV the new 3G service offers in St. Petersburg, Kazan, Ekaterinburg and Sochi. The military is blocking its use in Moscow.

Melamed told RT that within three years the company will have at least 15 million 3G subscribers.

“We anticipate speeds over 3MB per second, so users will enjoy very fast internet access and email downloads. Our target is by 2011 to have 15 million active users in Russia only, but I really think even this number to be conservative,” he said.