MTS is expanding into the satellite TV space after revealing plans to spend five billion rubles (€85.2 million) on helping it cement a lead position in the Russian television market. 

MTS will rent satellite capacity and purchase new equipment in order to provide an “unrivalled” content offering of 160 channels, including 30 HD channels, to subscribers without access to cable television.

The operator said it will make use of ABS-2 satellite technology to provide TV coverage to 95 percent of Russia, whilst also bringing to market a new step-top box featuring a built-in MTS SIM card.

The box will offer viewers internet-connected features including catch-up and on-demand services.

Vasyl Latsnych, CMO at MTS, said the new service would reinforce the operator’s ambition of offering differentiation in the market - something he identified as being one of the company’s key strategy “pillars”.

He added: “We believe that MTS is uniquely positioned to succeed in this market through the strength of our brand, the quality and diversity of our content portfolio, our unrivalled retail network of 4,000 stores spread out across Russia, and the expertise of our management team in cable and mobile TV services.”

Starter packages will begin at RUB 1,200 - roughly €20 - with the operator claiming that MTS customers with subscriptions to both its mobile and TV offerings will be eligible to a 20 percent repayment on their monthly bill and the opportunity to enlist in special loyalty and “bonus” programs.

Vitaly Studitskikh, MTS Director for Satellite TV, said: “Subscribers of pay TV services are increasingly looking for quality products that go well beyond traditional linear TV. Under the MTS brand, we are offering high-tech 3G/Wi-Fi-enabled set-top-boxes, giving customers control over their content consumption. MTS customers will be able to choose their channels ‘a la carte’ and have access to catch-up and video on-demand services.

“For the first time in the Russian market, consumers will be able to enjoy a truly personalised TV experience.”

MTS currently has over 110 million subscribers, according to its latest financial results, with revenues up 1.4 percent RUB 98.8 million (€2.1 billion). Meanwhile, residential ARPU was up 3.4 following rising migration of pay TV customers to MTS’s digital television platform.​

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