Broadband service provider and smartphone manufacturer Yota has become the country's fourth mobile operator after starting to provide voice communication services, Vedomosti reported Thursday, quoting a news release of the company.
Yota is a trademark of Skartel, owned by MegaFon, one of the three national mobile operators. The other two are MTS and Beeline.
The firm will initially operate in Moscow and St. Petersburg, as well as adjacent regions and eventually expand further to the whole of Russia.
The company plans to have 10 million mobile network clients in the next five years, said Skartel's CEO Anatoly Smorgonsky. The basic package for subscribers with an unlimited number of calls within the network and 300 minutes of free calls to other networks will cost 750 rubles ($21) in Moscow and 590 rubles in St. Petersburg.
Yota invited prospective clients to leave a request to use the service on its website as it intends to start selling commercial packages later, Lina Udovenko,a Skartel spokeswoman said. Another source close to Skartel told Vedomosti that the company initially plans to test the new network on 5,000 users.
Yota brand is oriented toward advanced Internet users so it won't duplicate MegaFon's services, said a spokesperson for MegaFon Olesya Yeryomenko, adding that more focused work on market segments under tough competition is a common practice in the world.