Russia’s MTS postpones BlackBerry service indefinitely


Russia’s largest mobile operator Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) has postponed the launch of the BlackBerry wireless platform to mobile customers in Russia indefinitely, Biznes business daily reported Wednesday. MTS earlier planned to introduce the service in September 2005, before postponing the launch by the end of 2005, and now the company declines to comment on the issue, the daily reported. Some market participants attribute the delay to the legal uncertainties of Canada’s Research In Motion, BlackBerry’s developer. Research In Motion has been challenged in courts over the legality of its technology usage for several years, the daily said.

Sergei Zamuruyev, a spokesman with VimpelCom, told the newspaper that VimpelCom, MTS’ key rival in Russia, is testing BlackBerry and plans to launch it soon.

BlackBerry is currently available on wireless networks throughout the world and has over 3.5 million subscribers in the U.S. alone.

MTS is the largest mobile operator in Russia and Central and Eastern Europe. It is licensed to provide services in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan. The consolidated subscriber base of MTS increased 70% to 58.19 million people as of late 2005.