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Effendi (Offline)
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Default 20-12-2005, 10:13

Belarus? 3rd GSM operator to launch its network on Wednesday



MOSCOW, Dec 19 (Prime-Tass) -- A third Belarusian GSM mobile operator plans to launch its network into commercial operation Wednesday, the company?s representative said Monday.

State-controlled Belarus Telecommunications Network, or BeST, started a trial operation of the network in October.

BeST was registered on November 5, 2004 and received a license to provide communication services in Belarus on March 24, 2005.

BeST was set up by Belarus? state-controlled fixed-line monopoly Beltelecom, which controls 25% in the company, and state-owned company Agat, which controls 75%.

Earlier in October BeST said that it plans to attract 500,000-600,000 subscribers by the end of 2006.

The aggregated subscriber base of Belarus' mobile operators has increased 48.4% since the beginning of the year to 3.605 million users as of October 1, Belarus' Communications Minister Vladimir Goncharenko said in October.

Presently there are three mobile operators in Belarus besides BeST. These Belarus' largest GSM operator, Belarusian-Russian joint venture Mobile TeleSystems, or MTS Bealrus, and Belarus' first GSM operator Mobile Digital Communications, or MDC, which provides its services under the Velcom brand. The country's first ever mobile operator Belarusian-British joint venture BelCel operates NMT450i and IMT-MC-450 networks.


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Default 21-12-2005, 15:31

I took a look at their site, which is quite horrible by the way (as their logo, very old Soviet style :P), but it seems they don't have a prepaid offer, but just one tariff, plus one for veterans of the Red Army (:blink and so on... Maybe Asick can look better, since my knowledge of Russian and Belarussian is quite limited!


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Default 21-12-2005, 18:22

Quote:
Originally Posted by Effendi
I took a look at their site, which is quite horrible by the way (as their logo, very old Soviet style :P), but it seems they don't have a prepaid offer, but just one tariff, plus one for veterans of the Red Army (:blink and so on... Maybe Asick can look better, since my knowledge of Russian and Belarussian is quite limited!
The discount tariff is in fact for RA veterans (not only WW2 but also all participants of war abroad - this should include veterans of Hungary 1956, Czechoslovakia 1968, Afganistan 1979-1989 and possibly some other "peacekeeping" missions), but also for prisoners of war (but only WW2 in this case) and persons handicapped in any circumastances . This tariff is available also for Russian citizen living in Belarus.

It seems that this is a very basic offer: only national voice calls and SMS.
I can see no international calls, roaming, voice mail, data/fax calls, MMS.

All rates are VAT-exlcuded.

Tomorrow I can ask a colleague of mine (who is from Belarus) if he knows something more about this network.
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Default 21-12-2005, 18:41

It's quite a strange operator, owned by the State... in all countries the old State-owned operators were monopolists and then sold to privates, while in Belarus the new operator is State-owned... that's really a strange country, but it doesn't surprise me looking at their "democratic" president!


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Default 31-12-2005, 13:23

This is very cranky operator, the strangest one I've ever seen in the European exUSSR. You are absolutely right, it looks as if it was really Soviet, and it's not any strange. Belorussian state owned companies keep working as they did 20 years ago, keeping the same traditions etc. Their Льготный (privileged) tariff is supposed to be a sort of social aid, but it looks strange anyway. Look, it just has lower SIM activation fee and cheaper calls to BeST numbers (30 minutes a month only). It has no other advantages, but it has no SMS service (just incoming SMS are available), no call waiting and similar services, no outgoing international calls ( :wacko: ) etc. A subscriber of Льготный tariff will have to prove his priviledged status every year to be able to keep using this tariff. Also, their Base tariff seems to have only national SMS exchange (look at the remark "Исходящее SMS абонентам других сетей сотовой связи РБ", it means "Outgoing SMS to other Belorussian networks subscribers, foreign SMS are not noticed at all). So, this is how their government does imagine an ideal cellular operator, I guess.


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Default 31-12-2005, 21:46

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asick
So, this is how their government does imagine an ideal cellular operator, I guess.
??! ??! Very true comrad!

I don't mind their priviledged tariffs - I think they are good - at least you are getting people on the bottom of the social ladder a chance to move up in some aspects (they do the same here in the states, except you need to put a security deposit before you can get service). I find the no international SMS and no international calls kind of weird - especially for travellers.


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Default 01-01-2006, 15:31

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asick
This is very cranky operator, the strangest one I've ever seen in the European exUSSR. You are absolutely right, it looks as if it was really Soviet, and it's not any strange. Belorussian state owned companies keep working as they did 20 years ago, keeping the same traditions etc.
So, you want to say that if the USSR still existed, the only possible Soviet GSM operator might be similar to Best ?
But, if we considered eastern part of Moldova (Transnistria) as a separate country, this could be even weirder than Belarus: only one CDMA opertator and mp GSM ones (completed phrase )

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asick
Their Льготный (privileged) tariff is supposed to be a sort of social aid, but it looks strange anyway. Look, it just has lower SIM activation fee and cheaper calls to BeST
In Poland war veterans and some handicapped persons can get discounts for monthly fees in Polish Telecom. It used to be possible also from other operators (both landline and mobile) but it leaded to many abuses, especailly about mobile plans. Very often, mobile phones with discount plans were officaly registered for eligible persons, but in fact they were used by their healthy and wealthy children, grandchildren or cousins . However, those discounts were never connected with restrictions/unavalaibility of any services.
After all, now such discounts are not really necessary because regular GSM tariffs are pretty low. Landline operators offer "social" plans (but available to everyone) instead with low monthly fee but higher call rates.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asick
So, this is how their government does imagine an ideal cellular operator, I guess.*
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Default 01-01-2006, 20:01

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Originally Posted by Przemolog
So, you want to say that if the USSR still existed, the only possible Soviet GSM operator might be similar to Best ?
Exactly! However, I'm not sure there would be a fully functional GSM operator at all. I guess the Soviet economy had no chances in producing hi-tech devices, so they would need to import foreign cellular phones, but Soviet government always avoided import of consumer electronics etc., just few arrived here via partially unofficial channels and were sold on black markets. I guess there would be the only network that would cover only Moscow and Leningrad city centers accessible only for roamers and communist party bosses. Or, they would make people using huge and heavy Soviet GSM phones, capable of calling and receiving calls only with no screens on them.

You didn't end your phrase about Transdnistria, what's about operators there? Actually, this stripe of land is much more USSR than Belarus, people say it often looks as time stands still there. However, it's not a real country with 10 millions of people, such as Belarus.

You know, Russian landline monopolists usually provide some discounts for veterans and invalids too. However, these monopolists do not really work in the cellular business (in most regions, at least), so the cellular market here is completely private, with no state interventions and state methods of tariff constructing, so I've never heard here about any discounts for veterans on GSM tariffs. And, GSM is not expensive here too, veterans have higher pensions and grants than the others, so they often can afford a normal unprivileged tariff.


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Default 01-01-2006, 22:38

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asick
Exactly!* * However, I'm not sure there would be a fully functional GSM operator at all. I guess the Soviet economy had no chances in producing hi-tech devices, so they would need to import foreign cellular phones,
What about weapons ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asick
but Soviet government always avoided import of consumer electronics etc., just few arrived here via partially unofficial channels and were sold on black markets. I guess
(...)
there would be the only network that would cover only Moscow and Leningrad city centers accessible only for roamers and communist party bosses.* * Or, they
Quite possible. After all, there's a GSM network in Cuba and even in North Korea .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asick
You didn't end your phrase about Transdnistria, what's about operators there?
oster_oops: - just corrected it - I meant no "native" GSM network is there (although the area is probably covered by Moldovan networks).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asick
Actually, this stripe of land is much more USSR than Belarus, people say it often looks as time stands still there.* * However, it's not a real country with 10 millions of people, such as Belarus.
Transnistria is not a country in this sense that it isn't recognised by any other country, but de facto it is a country with its own president, government, parliament, currency and border controls.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asick
You know, Russian landline monopolists usually provide some discounts for veterans and invalids too. [...]
never heard here about any discounts for veterans on GSM tariffs.
The discounts in Poland were forced by telecommunication law. AFAIK those discounts are now obligatory for so-called "dominant operators" only i.e. the ones that have at least 40% share in the market. In the mobile market it's almost impossible so that such a situation would happen since there are 3 moreless equivalent operators, and the fourth one with licence valid from June 2006. But on the landline market Polish Telecom will always be dominant (about 90% now).
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Default 02-01-2006, 12:35

Well, weapons/rockets/space etc. is another story. This sector was intensively supported, the best scientists and developers worked there, so it was OK. Anyway, looking at 80s, you may found that the most Soviet complicated electronics sold in shops were either good but a sort of monster things (design, size etc.) or just copies of foreign models (yeah, step-by-step taken copies, such as some Soviet VCRs, audio cassette recorders etc.). It's known there were Soviet i8086 and i80286 clones, but they had stuck with i80386. So, seriously, I guess they would be able to construct their own Soviet GSM phone, but it would be not that convenient to use and it would contain many copied content (from cloned chips upto firmware). :P Nevertheless, this had no chance to happen, although I've heard Ukrainians (may be Belorussians, I'm not sure) recently made their own GSM phone from start to end, which is way too big, looking as a phone from late 90s. :whistle: Well, what a funny topic.

Do you know something specific about the North Korean GSM network? It looks to be very weird. It has no roaming agreements and I'm afraid there are just a few BTS covering the places where their leader used to be. Cuba is not such a close country with more relaxed life and it's visited by many foreign tourists, so fully functional GSM network is quite needed there, and it does exist. I find it expectable.

I guess Transdnistria people can use both Moldovan and Ukrainian coverage, but it seems to be reasonable only for innernetwork calls, while calls to Transdnistria landlines are probably expensive. Anyway, Transdnistria is not blocked from outside, so it's not a problem to get scratch cards and so on. I'll look for more real info on that topic, since it's quite interesting.

I guess Russian telecommunication law contains the same stuff (sort of partial state tariff regulation) only for landline monopolists, which keep 90% or more of landlines under their control, it's the same as in Poland. Now here are usually 3 or more cellular operators sharing the market equally, but they didn't have to make any discounts for anybody when they were alone in a region (in 90s, for example).


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