Megafon Wins Race For National Coverage

Cellular operator Megafon, the nation's third-largest provider, has beaten bigger rivals VimpelCom and Mobile TeleSystems in a race to secure the right to operate in all seven of the nation's so-called "super regions." St. Petersburg holding Telecominvest, which owns a 31-percent stake in Megafon, reported that the Communications Ministry had granted the company the license for the central region, which surrounds but does not include Moscow. Megafon, which already operates in the capital, will now be able to offer its services to the country's entire population of 144 million people. "We are proud that Megafon has become the first real all-Russia operator," Telecominvest spokesperson Andrei Klimov said. The company's other shareholders include two leading Nordic operators - Finnish Sonera and Swedish Telia - and Moscow investment boutique LV Finance. The Megafon holding was founded just six months ago and owns the nation's third-largest cellular operator, local operator North-West GSM, , the St. Petersburg Times reported.

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