Virgin eyes Russian MVNO

01 November 2012 |


Richard Branson’s Virgin Group is in talks with Russian mobile operators as possible partners for the launch of a Virgin branded MVNO in the country.

Virgin is looking to invest up to $1 billion in Russian-focussed businesses if plans for the MVNO and a flight route to Moscow go ahead, Branson told Reuters at a conference in Moscow.

"We use their networks, and they use our brand," Branson told the newswire. "It has worked really well in other countries and we think it will work well in Russia."

Potential partners for Virgin include: MTS, which led the market in June 2012 with 27.1% market share; second ranked MegaFon with 24.2%; and VimpelCom with 21.7% during the same period. Rostelecom and Tele2 could also be other options.

Virgin could look to offer LTE services through an MVNO agreement with MTS, MegaFon, VimpelCom and Rostelecom all awarded LTE licences in July.