LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE 360 SERIES – RUSSIA & CIS, MOSCOW: MTS CEO Alexey Kornya (pictured) explained the low profile of global internet giants in Russia offers the country’s mobile operators a unique opportunity to launch a wave of digital services.

Speaking in the first keynote, Kornya said his company planned to widen its scope by developing and offering a greater number of digital products and services, a move helped by the fact the internet ecosystem is dominated by local companies.

“In Russia we see a unique environment where the leading players are at the same time local players,” he said. “The social media leaders are VKontakte and Odnoklassniki, not Facebook, which takes the leading position in other markets. The main browser system is Yandex, not Google like most [of] the markets. So the internet ecosystem in Russia creates opportunities and opens new markets for the telecoms operators.”

He added the move into these and other areas, such as advanced machine to machine communications, would be fuelled by the launch of 5G.

MTS expects half of its network traffic to run on 5G by the mid-2020s, placing the operator ahead of regional forecasts released by the GSMA earlier today (30 October). Half of its current traffic is served by its 4G network.

For this to be achieved, he added, there needed to be a logical approach to 5G rollout.

“We know there are different scenarios for the development and use of 5G scenarios,” he noted. “We think the best approach is the combination of logical development of the networks based on 4G technologies with elements of active sharing [of infrastructure between operators]. We think a combination of that will provide maximum opportunities, for customers and improve the quality and speed of services.”