Competition is strong in the cellular phone sector; 80 % of the customers are Russians and per minute rates are surprisingly low. The demand for "radio-telephones" for taxis, etc. remains strong as well.
Europeans using the GMS system can usually use their own phones in Moscow - but it is expensive. Americans can rent a special phone from their cellular provider before leaving. With Omnipoint you simply switch your "chip" to a phone that they provide. In either case, it will be billed to your US account.
Cellular communication market in Moscow is divided by MTS (GSM) 41%, Bee Line (DAMPS/GSM) 34%, MSS (MNT-450) 25%.
According to J'son & Partners there were a little bit more than 4mln users of cellular phones in Moscow and the Moscow region in the beginning of 2002. By the estimates of specialists about 7.2 mln people can afford to have cellular phones. About 3.2 mln people do not own a cellular phone in Moscow - these are working people with an average income of $300 a month as well as students of schools and universities and pensioners.
This year the competition on the market will mostly envolve the two leaders Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) and Vympelcom (Beeline) which is very advantageous for their clients: the price rates in both companies have been drastically reduced (MTS from$54 to $39, Beeline from $36 to $28).
As of today Beeline is leading in the competition, having increased the number of its users to 2,11mln people, while MTS to 2,055. Experts think that the main reason of their success is a convenient system of payment for their service through MTA machines at metro stations and Seventh Continent supermarkets. MTS also plans to enlarge its network of users by accepting their payment through Autobank MTA machines and installing 30 electronic remote terminals.