CFRIES

Centre Franco-Russe d’Intelligence Economique et Stratégique

05 avril 2008

Vimpelcom sells first Russian BlackBerry contract

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Vimpelcom became the first operator to introduce the BlackBerry service to Russia, selling a contract to the Russian unit of the world's second-largest cigarette maker, British American Tobacco.

Vimpelcom said on Friday its customers will use the 8700g model, a wireless handheld device produced and sold worldwide by Canada's Research In Motion .

Vimpelcom, Russia's second-largest mobile phone operator, is in talks with 40 more potential corporate clients, company spokeswoman Yekaterina Osadchaya said.

Its main rival, Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), is about to start offering the service to 30 corporate clients working in Russia, its spokeswoman Yelena Kokhanovskaya said.

In October 2007, MTS launched the BlackBerry in Ukraine, first among the twelve former Soviet Union states.

Kokhanovskaya said MTS has around 300 corporate BlackBerry users in Ukraine and plans to start offering the service to individual clients there in the first half of this year.

The BlackBerry is a wireless handheld device available on about 300 networks in 120 countries. It supports push e-mail, mobile telephone, messaging, web browsing and other wireless communication services.

Russian operators received approval from regulators, including the powerful FSB, the successor of the Soviet Union's KGB, to begin shipping and operating the BlackBerry smartphones in November last year.

Previously, corporate clients in Russia had been able to use the BlackBerry devices only with foreign SIM-cards via roaming.

Vimpelcom, owned by Russian Alfa Group and Norway's Telenor, had more than 52 million subscribers in Russia and the former Soviet Union states as of February 29, 2008.

(Reporting by Anastasia Teterevleva; Writing by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Erica Billingham)

Posté par CFRIES à 21:46 - NTIC & Telecom - Permalien [#]