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History

History

MegaFon has come a long way from being a small regional operator to become one of the biggest in Russia and the absolute leader in mobile Internet. At every stage of its development, the company has always taken the path of smart growth and development and introduced innovative new solutions, be it new technological developments, product and service marketing or the way internal processes or work with subscribers is organized. MegaFon’s achievements, in what is such a short period of time by global standards, prove the company’s status as a trendsetter on the Russian and even the global market.

MegaFon today
  • 1993-2001
  • 2002-2006
  • 2007-2013
  • MegaFon today
  • January 1992: Idea emerges of creating a joint operating company following a meeting between Alexander Malyshev, head of the data computing center at the Leningrad intercity telephone station, and West Link owner Evgeny Kesarev, where the two discussed the new GSM mobile standard. 
  • 17 June 1993: MegaFon is born. Company created and registered as CJSC Northwest GSM. Begins its development in the northwest region and not in Moscow, as other Russian operators did. 8,000 subscribers connected in two years (1994 – 1996), which is three times as many as planned. 
  • 25 August 1994: First call on the GSM network in St Petersburg: conversation between Goran Olsson (Telia) and Aki Kinnunen (Telecom Finland) during Northwest GSM’s first press conference. 
  • 17 January 1995: New operator emerges with the official launch of commercial operations of the GSM network in St Petersburg. 
  • 1996: Northwest GSM is the first to offer clients automatic roaming and SMS services.
  • End of 1996: The company becomes the undisputed leader on the St Petersburg mobile market and the biggest GSM operator in Russia, with more than 24,000 clients. 
  • 1997: The company goes beyond the Leningrad region to launch GSM networks in Arkhangelsk, Murmansk and Petrozavodsk. 
  • End of 90s: Mobile boom in Russia. It becomes clear that mobile services should be available to all. 
  • August 1998: Creation of mobile division which, against the backdrop of the crisis, becomes the foundation for the future MegaFon. 
  • 1999: The company is the first to offer WAP Internet access and to make mobile services available in the metro. St Petersburg becomes the fifth city in the world and the first in Russia where mobile goes underground. 
  • 1 December 2000: The MegaFon brand is born, with the first SIM cards sold in Saratov and Saransk. Saratov region and Mordovia connected in 2000; Samara region in 2001; Bashkortostan, Kalmykia and the Volgograd, Astrakhan and Ulyanovsk regions in 2002. 
  • 2001: Announcement of the creation of a united operator providing services across the whole of Russia, which was unprecedented for the Russian mobile market.
  • 21 November 2001: Our network begins operating in Moscow; MegaFon tackles the challenging Moscow market. 
  • 29 May 2002: CJSC Northwest GSM becomes OJSC MegaFon, a group of companies that at the time was the only operator with licenses to roll out mobile networks in every region of Russia. By the end of its first year, MegaFon’s client base has grown 10 times over, surpassing the 1 million mark.
  • 2002: Beginning of period of fierce competition for market leadership. MegaFon is already providing services to 1.4 million subscribers (mobile penetration in Russia is just 12.5%).
  • 16 July 2002: MegaFon brand arrives in the Greater Urals. Investment in development doubles each year, from $43 million in 2003 to $160 million in 2005.
  • December 2002: MegaFon Center begins operations in the Nizhny Novgorod and Voronezh regions. Network launched in another ten territories of the central federal district in 2003. Company completely covers licensed area by April 2004.
  • 6 December 2003: MegaFon Siberia begins commercial operations in Novosibirsk, offering an unusual proposal for Siberia — a roaming-free zone where subscribers can make calls at the cost of a local call thousands of miles away, yet again positioning the operator as an innovative company.
  • 2004: A number of milestones for the company:
    • We begin actively developing related mobile services: St Petersburg becomes the first city in Europe to launch MMS services. Mobile TV rolled out.
    • MegaFon comes to the Far East, opening service centers in Khabarovsk and Vladivostok.
    • License coverage by MegaFon and its subsidiaries covers 100% of Russia, all 89 constituent entities of the Russian Federation, home to 146 million people.
    • First major financial deal: MegaFon places European bonds worth $375 million (four times oversubscribed).
    • The company becomes the only operator to offer confidential mobile communications in Russia and to guarantee the security of private conversations between subscribers.
  • 2005: MegaFon clients are the first in Russia to gain access to EDGE-based services. MegaFon’s GPRS and EDGE international roaming covers 50 countries around the world on four continents.
  • 2004-2006: Rapid growth of our network continues, expanding to the Jewish autonomous region, Sakhalin, the Amur region, the Sakha Republic (Yakutia), Buryatia, the Chita region, Magadan and Kamchatka. MegaFon becomes the first ever GSM mobile operator in Chukotka in 2006.
  • 2007: Two geographic records — base stations integrated at the same time at the most northerly point in Russia, the village of Tiksi (Yakutia, average temperature in January of −40˚C), and the most easterly, in the Chukotka village of Provideniya.
  • 2007: MegaFon is the first Russian mobile operator to launch a 3G network.
  • 2008 and 2009: Number of MegaFon subscribers grows 22% and 16% respectively. MegaFon breaks into group of leaders by number of connections.
  • 2010: MegaFon becomes No. 2 out of the Big Three operators by number of subscribers (with a market share of 25.3%) and revenue.
  • 2011: Number of users of our unlimited Internet services grows 25% to 20 million. Mobile Internet becomes the main growth driver for the company, which invests revenue in the large-scale construction of next generation networks.
  • July 2012: One of four licenses obtained to provide 4G/LTE services in Russia for a period of ten years. Such services are provided in more than 50 regions across the country.
  • November 2012: MegaFon’s IPO on the Moscow and London stock exchanges is the largest by any Russian company in 2012.
  • October 2013: MegaFon closes the acquisition of 100% of Scartel/Yota, which own 4G/LTE licenses, allowing it to offer subscribers access to a unique range of services. MegaFon’s frequency base means we can offer average and peak speeds four times faster than other operators.
  • Some 70 million subscribers
  • Biggest sales network in Russia: 9,000 stores and still actively growing
  • Mobile data is a priority business focus: no. 1 in Russia (market share of 36.6%) and no. 3 in the world.
  • February 2014: launch of 4G+, the world’s fastest mobile Internet, opening up a huge range of possibilities for working with online content at speeds of up to 300Mb/s.
  • Company adopts long-term smart growth strategy.
  • 16 June 2016: MegaFon becomes the first in Russia and one of the first in the world to demonstrate 5G mobile internet speeds – faster than 1GB/s – during the St Petersburg International Economic Forum. The testing used Huawei network and terminal equipment and a prototype user device based on a Qualcomm modem.
  • 28 July 2016: MegaFon and Nokia sign a memorandum of cooperation to develop the 5G standard in Russia. The partnership will lead to the testing of new solutions as part of joint pilot projects and possible construction of a 5G test cluster at Russian stadiums involved in hosting the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
  • 22 August 2016: MegaFon presents a card like no other in the world. It is unique because the card is linked to its holder’s mobile phone balance. MegaFon subscribers can use the card to pay anywhere that accepts MasterCard, which has the most extensive acceptance network. Payment is debited from mobile phone balance.
  • 21 September 2016: At the 5th international business summit in Nizhny Novgorod, MegaFon demonstrates record mobile data transfer speeds for Russia. During the demonstration, the speed reached 4.94 GB/s. MegaFon and Nokia come very close to 5 GB/s and demonstrate the speed of mobile internet of the future.
  • September 2016: MegaFon rolls out a Voice over LTE (VoLTE) service in Moscow and the Moscow region. VoLTE allows the transmission of voice, video and text messages over 4G without connecting to 2G/3G.

All the way along the path to becoming a major mobile operator in Russia, we have always stayed true to our brand values and philosophy. Each stage of our history has laid the foundations for our success today. By maintaining what we have, we continue to invest in the future, in innovative technologies and modern infrastructure, while at the same time paying increased attention to boosting efficiency across all areas of our business.