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Megafon network in the Moscow region, answers from Megafon commercial director Eldar Razroev

New initiatives of the mobile operator Megafon in Moscow, in particular the introduction of PRIEM tariff plans, raised a wave of discussions. And who better than others can tell about the company's policy, if not the person responsible for marketing? Our interlocutor today, Eldar Razroev, commercial director of CJSC Sonic Duo of the Megafon network in the Moscow region. Eldar has come a long way to this place of work, back in 1995-1996 he headed the marketing service of VimpelCom OJSC, later in 2001 he came to VimpelCom-R, from where he got to Megafon. But let's ask questions that need answers. So, the word to Eldar.

E.M. Everyone talks about the coverage of the MegaFon network when it comes to its capabilities and services. How do you usually answer questions about coverage?
Comparing our regional coverage with that of competitors - just at the card level - the consumer sees that we have less coverage in the region. That is, he may not need the village of Vaskino, 120 km from Moscow, but he thinks that once every 10 years he may need it. This disadvantage is still there, and it plays a certain role when choosing a network. We cannot but take this into account, and we form our proposal, taking into account the fact of a certain backlog in the region. We give the subscriber something more, which makes the subscriber make this (in my opinion, insignificant) sacrifice.

Today, our coverage in Moscow is competitive. This is not a slogan, I tested it myself. I had certain stereotypes with which I came to the company. In particular, about the insufficient coverage of MegaFon in Moscow. But as soon as I became a subscriber of the MegaFon network, I was able to make sure that the coverage was competitive. These are my own feelings.

E.M. Let me disagree, I live on Leninsky Prospekt, near the Moscow department store, there is no MegaFon coverage in the houses, it is weak on the street. In another apartment nearby on Vavilov Street, there is no coverage either in the house or on the street. Periodically, the connection in these places is manifested. If we talk about this area, then, moving along Profsoyuznaya Street, you can see that the MegaFon network is always there, it is enough to turn into courtyards, and it gradually disappears.
E.R. There is private experience and the law of large numbers. I proceed from the fact that there is not a single network in Moscow, and I think in the world, that would provide absolute coverage even within the city limits. All operators have holes. If some operator says that we have holes in the coverage in our city, he will be right. But I will also be right if I say that any operator has holes. They can not be, this is not a wired connection. At the same time, it is obvious that an operator with a large subscriber base should have fewer holes. Simply because the density of base stations is higher. After all, a single base station can have a limited number of radio channels, and with an increase in the number of subscribers, the operator is forced to increase the number of radio channels per unit area.

However, it is not the number of holes that is more important, but the integral indicator of the quality of communication. It is determined not so much by the presence or absence of holes (after all, there is a voice mail that will pick up calls), but by the ability to get through. It's no secret that in large networks, subscribers are more likely to face the problem of channel occupancy. Our network has excess capacity resources; on the radio part, we have several times the capacity. I will not give exact figures, this is commercial information, but this is an excess not by percentages, but by several times. Therefore, the integral quality within Moscow is currently competitive with us. In the vast majority of cases, this is a connection on the first attempt and a quality connection even with minimal indication of reception. I'm not saying we're better, but we're definitely not worse.

E.M. What about switching capacity?
E.R. Switching capacity is easier. You understand, it takes two weeks to install the switch. Delivered, integrated it into the system and - forward. We work on equipment from Ericsson, this is high-end in the field of network equipment, there are no surprises here at all (pah, pah, pah). This is really very good for the operator, we can safely develop, at any time and with minimal risks, increasing the network capacity.

Let's just say that cellular companies have different equipment and it behaves differently. For some, switches fall with regularity once every one and a half months. I will not name the companies, subscribers see it (but, perhaps, not everyone understands what is happening). Someone has problems with the integration of equipment in the network and so on.

E.M. At one of the press conferences, a representative of your company said that MegaFon was introducing about 15 base stations a week. A map was provided for January 1, 2004, which showed that the coverage of the territory had increased significantly. Now the rate of introduction of the BS will increase?!
E.R. This is an uneven commissioning, we can say that we put into operation at least one base station per day. There are weeks when we introduce up to 20 stations. I would not like to operate here with any specific figures, since the information is again commercial, we are not a public company, and we do not announce such figures. I can only speak relatively. I recently came across information about the development of the Beeline network in 1999-2000. If you remember, the jump in Beeline sales occurred in 2000, today we correspond approximately to the beginning of 2000 Beeline. That breakthrough was due to the fact that Beeline provided a certain level of coverage, and it made it possible to seriously compete with MTS. Now we are in the same phase, in terms of the number of base stations, in terms of coverage. The market has certainly changed, but there is every reason for us to work in this market seriously, without any discounts for a newcomer.

E.M. At the MTS press conference at the beginning of the year, one of the company's executives mentioned that MegaFon had practically no coverage in the 900 MHz band. Your comments?
ER This is a mistake in this case. I officially declare that our company has coverage in the 900 range. Moreover, in the near future the number of 900 frequencies will increase, which will lead to better coverage. Yes, the 900 range is the most important for the operator, but as the European experience shows, it is possible to make coverage only in the 1800 range. This is a question of price - the operator's costs for the network. There must be an objective attitude to this problem. At the moment we have coverage in the 900 range, and it makes no sense for me to justify the networks that will be built only in 1800. However, I don't want people to have illusions about this. You need to understand that the coverage in the area, which is 900, which is the same in 1800. The reason for this is the physics of radio wave propagation. The problem occurs only in the city, this is due to the characteristics of the absorption of radio waves in the 900 and 1800 range. In this sense, the 900 range is more attractive, since the signal absorption in the city is less.

I repeat, for us the problem of poor coverage no longer exists, our coverage within Moscow is competitive.

E.M. Let's go back to the map at the beginning of 2004, it shows that the coverage area of ​​the network has increased. But will coverage be improved where the network already exists, for example, within the city?
E.R. You know, this is a thing that depends little on the good will of the operator. Ideally, the operator would only install BS to increase the coverage area, but since both the number of subscribers and the load on the network are growing, he is forced to install additional BS and he cannot help but do this. The more subscribers we have, the more and better coverage will be in the city.

E.M. If we talk about competition, I would like to ask about the new PRIEM tariff plans. They caused a stir in the market, queues appeared in MegaFon offices.
E.R. The dynamics of network connections has increased significantly. But we are not happy with the queues, we redirect the flow of subscribers to dealers. It is more profitable for us to sell ourselves, but the most important thing for us is the quality of service. We do not need a subscriber at any cost. Now we are taking measures to recruit and train additional staff - we will try to remove the problem of queues in offices as soon as possible.

E.M. Are new subscribers mainly connected to PRIEM tariff plans?
E.R. Yes, mostly new. Our task was to make an offer corresponding to the existing payment system for existing subscribers. We did not go for dumping. A reasonable person, if he compares our tariffs, will see that there is no dumping. We did not want to force subscribers to rush between tariff plans, from one to another. There was a desire to make an offer that would give new opportunities for cellular subscribers in Moscow.

RECEIVING is not an invention of the bicycle, it is a normal tariff policy in most European countries. On the contrary, the Russian situation, when money is taken for incoming calls, is rather unique. You need to understand that this is not caused by the "redneck" of the operator companies, but is determined by the established practice of financial relations between the operator companies. We make some conscious sacrifices, if you like, to give our subscribers more comfortable conditions than they can get from competitors.

Free inbox is an offer that is addressed to the middle class, the most socially active category, people who earn their money. These people do not need a “freebie”, it humiliates them. These are people who want fair conditions. This is our main idea in new tariffs, to give subscribers fair conditions.

If you look at the cost per minute, the new plans aren't particularly different from competitors' offerings, but they're fair. Because here a person is responsible only for what he does himself. The person decided to call, he pays for it. If they call him, it's not his choice, why should he pay for it? This proposal should be viewed not as an attempt to blow up the market and not as dumping. (We cannot dump, for our company this is a road to nowhere.) Our only goal is to give a unique offer to the market and subscribers. I think that MegaFon's competitors will not be able to repeat this offer. This is also an important factor. We took it into account when forming tariffs. We want to make offers that will be associated only with our company. We do not seek to enter into direct competition with MTS and Beeline, especially in the field of prices.

E.M. How much has the influx of new subscribers increased now?
E.R. We can operate with some figures, but they will always look less interesting than those of MegaFon's competitors, because we are now at the start. This is not to say that the company did nothing the previous year, it just needs to be understood: our company is now like a floating submarine. Now only a superstructure has appeared above the water. Throughout the past year, MegaFon has been intensively building a network, all resources and opportunities have been thrown at solving this problem. It was necessary to create a quality product. It is impossible to create a network in one day, this requires huge efforts, financial resources. Our company has made every effort to create conditions when the proposals of the new operator will be taken seriously by the market. Today MegaFon has become a real player.

E.M. How do you feel about the fact that in the Moscow market, operators often copy the actions of competitors. So, tariff plans similar in name, similar services appear. You said that you strive to offer unique services to subscribers, how does this fit with such a situation on the market?
E.R. To offer exclusive services, paradoxically, is possible. GSM is standardized, all services are also standard, but companies and their services may differ - this is my belief. The point here is the service philosophy of the company. At the moment, you correctly noticed that there is copying at the level of tariffs. The task of our company is to build up our offer from others similar to each other.Objectively, we are not interested in telling potential subscribers: “It's either us or MTS. Either we or Beeline.” We want to offer subscribers a choice, this is our position in the market. We don't mind if our subscribers use both our network and some other network at the same time >Tecno DroiPad 10D 16 GB Black, no problem. If the subscriber receives part of the services from us, and part of the services from MTS or Beeline, why not? This is a big plus of GSM technology, you can change the network in a couple of seconds. You can change your operator at any time to get some service from another operator. When we see the penetration of mobile communications in a number of countries over 100 percent, this does not mean that some virtual people have appeared there. It's just that some subscribers have several phones or SIM-cards, while they receive part of the services from one operator, part from another. Dumb copying the tariffs and services of another operator in such conditions will not work, therefore our company is interested in promoting unique services and tariffs.

E.M. How is the fact that packet data transfer (GPRS) appeared in MegaFon later than in Beeline, and the tariffs were much higher, consistent with such a policy of the company. High tariffs do not fit into the concept that you outlined, based on what, they were made?
E.R. Our actions are very clear. Let me emphasize that we are not going to dump, we do not want to initiate price wars. Our position is different. With regard to GPRS, the situation is as follows. We do not experiment on subscribers - if MegaFon offers a certain service, it guarantees that it is of high quality and can be used. We offer a service that you can use, and not just think that it is available. This real service has a cost. Of course, I can offer a hypothetical opportunity to fly to the Moon in 100 years for 10 kopecks, or I can offer to fly to another city by plane for 2,000 rubles. You can compare these two sentences.

We still offer a real service at a real commercial price. This service is available to all subscribers, I emphasize to everyone, including those using pre-paid (we do not divide subscribers into good and bad, we try to provide equal services to everyone). At the same time, we must offer a competitive price, we are not going to use our leadership in some area in order to “skim the cream”. Our GPRS pricing is competitive for a specific usage profile, ie. for people who need operational data. We take a small, I emphasize, a small margin for efficiency. This is understandable, because our cost of equipment is higher than that of wired providers.Sometimes our services turn out to be more profitable than even dial up. And using GPRS for web surfing is not the best solution, for this it is better to sit in front of a large computer screen at home and calmly view the necessary information there. We position our service as online access to information, as such it is indispensable and cannot be compared with traditional methods of accessing the network.

E.M. Thank you very much for an interesting conversation. And, the last, which has already become a traditional question, any wishes, words for our readers?
E.R. To all readers - good luck in all your endeavors. And our existing and future subscribers - only positive emotions from the services provided by the MegaFon network. For our part, we will do everything to justify their trust.

Back to news »

Megafon network in the Moscow region, answers from Megafon commercial director Eldar Razroev

New initiatives of the mobile operator Megafon in Moscow, in particular the introduction of PRIEM tariff plans, raised a wave of discussions. And who better than others can tell about the company's policy, if not the person responsible for marketing? Our interlocutor today, Eldar Razroev, commercial director of CJSC Sonic Duo of the Megafon network in the Moscow region. Eldar has come a long way to this place of work, back in 1995-1996 he headed the marketing service of VimpelCom OJSC, later in 2001 he came to VimpelCom-R, from where he got to Megafon. But let's ask questions that need answers. So, the word to Eldar.

E.M. Everyone talks about the coverage of the MegaFon network when it comes to its capabilities and services. How do you usually answer questions about coverage?
Comparing our regional coverage with that of competitors - just at the card level - the consumer sees that we have less coverage in the region. That is, he may not need the village of Vaskino, 120 km from Moscow, but he thinks that once every 10 years he may need it. This disadvantage is still there, and it plays a certain role when choosing a network. We cannot but take this into account, and we form our proposal, taking into account the fact of a certain backlog in the region. We give the subscriber something more, which makes the subscriber make this (in my opinion, insignificant) sacrifice.

Today, our coverage in Moscow is competitive. This is not a slogan, I tested it myself. I had certain stereotypes with which I came to the company. In particular, about the insufficient coverage of MegaFon in Moscow. But as soon as I became a subscriber of the MegaFon network, I was able to make sure that the coverage was competitive. These are my own feelings.

E.M. Let me disagree, I live on Leninsky Prospekt, near the Moscow department store, there is no MegaFon coverage in the houses, it is weak on the street. In another apartment nearby on Vavilov Street, there is no coverage either in the house or on the street. Periodically, the connection in these places is manifested. If we talk about this area, then, moving along Profsoyuznaya Street, you can see that the MegaFon network is always there, it is enough to turn into courtyards, and it gradually disappears.
E.R. There is private experience and the law of large numbers. I proceed from the fact that there is not a single network in Moscow, and I think in the world, that would provide absolute coverage even within the city limits. All operators have holes. If some operator says that we have holes in the coverage in our city, he will be right. But I will also be right if I say that any operator has holes. They can not be, this is not a wired connection. At the same time, it is obvious that an operator with a large subscriber base should have fewer holes. Simply because the density of base stations is higher. After all, a single base station can have a limited number of radio channels, and with an increase in the number of subscribers, the operator is forced to increase the number of radio channels per unit area.

However, it is not the number of holes that is more important, but the integral indicator of the quality of communication. It is determined not so much by the presence or absence of holes (after all, there is a voice mail that will pick up calls), but by the ability to get through. It's no secret that in large networks, subscribers are more likely to face the problem of channel occupancy. Our network has excess capacity resources; on the radio part, we have several times the capacity. I will not give exact figures, this is commercial information, but this is an excess not by percentages, but by several times. Therefore, the integral quality within Moscow is currently competitive with us. In the vast majority of cases, this is a connection on the first attempt and a quality connection even with minimal indication of reception. I'm not saying we're better, but we're definitely not worse.

E.M. What about switching capacity?
E.R. Switching capacity is easier. You understand, it takes two weeks to install the switch. Delivered, integrated it into the system and - forward. We work on equipment from Ericsson, this is high-end in the field of network equipment, there are no surprises here at all (pah, pah, pah). This is really very good for the operator, we can safely develop, at any time and with minimal risks, increasing the network capacity.

Let's just say that cellular companies have different equipment and it behaves differently. For some, switches fall with regularity once every one and a half months. I will not name the companies, subscribers see it (but, perhaps, not everyone understands what is happening). Someone has problems with the integration of equipment in the network and so on.

E.M. At one of the press conferences, a representative of your company said that MegaFon was introducing about 15 base stations a week. A map was provided for January 1, 2004, which showed that the coverage of the territory had increased significantly. Now the rate of introduction of the BS will increase?!
E.R. This is an uneven commissioning, we can say that we put into operation at least one base station per day. There are weeks when we introduce up to 20 stations. I would not like to operate here with any specific figures, since the information is again commercial, we are not a public company, and we do not announce such figures. I can only speak relatively. I recently came across information about the development of the Beeline network in 1999-2000. If you remember, the jump in Beeline sales occurred in 2000, today we correspond approximately to the beginning of 2000 Beeline. That breakthrough was due to the fact that Beeline provided a certain level of coverage, and it made it possible to seriously compete with MTS. Now we are in the same phase, in terms of the number of base stations, in terms of coverage. The market has certainly changed, but there is every reason for us to work in this market seriously, without any discounts for a newcomer.

E.M. At the MTS press conference at the beginning of the year, one of the company's executives mentioned that MegaFon had practically no coverage in the 900 MHz band. Your comments?
ER This is a mistake in this case. I officially declare that our company has coverage in the 900 range. Moreover, in the near future the number of 900 frequencies will increase, which will lead to better coverage. Yes, the 900 range is the most important for the operator, but as the European experience shows, it is possible to make coverage only in the 1800 range. This is a question of price - the operator's costs for the network. There must be an objective attitude to this problem. At the moment we have coverage in the 900 range, and it makes no sense for me to justify the networks that will be built only in 1800. However, I don't want people to have illusions about this. You need to understand that the coverage in the area, which is 900, which is the same in 1800. The reason for this is the physics of radio wave propagation. The problem occurs only in the city, this is due to the characteristics of the absorption of radio waves in the 900 and 1800 range. In this sense, the 900 range is more attractive, since the signal absorption in the city is less.

I repeat, for us the problem of poor coverage no longer exists, our coverage within Moscow is competitive.

E.M. Let's go back to the map at the beginning of 2004, it shows that the coverage area of ​​the network has increased. But will coverage be improved where the network already exists, for example, within the city?
E.R. You know, this is a thing that depends little on the good will of the operator. Ideally, the operator would only install BS to increase the coverage area, but since both the number of subscribers and the load on the network are growing, he is forced to install additional BS and he cannot help but do this. The more subscribers we have, the more and better coverage will be in the city.

E.M. If we talk about competition, I would like to ask about the new PRIEM tariff plans. They caused a stir in the market, queues appeared in MegaFon offices.
E.R. The dynamics of network connections has increased significantly. But we are not happy with the queues, we redirect the flow of subscribers to dealers. It is more profitable for us to sell ourselves, but the most important thing for us is the quality of service. We do not need a subscriber at any cost. Now we are taking measures to recruit and train additional staff - we will try to remove the problem of queues in offices as soon as possible.

E.M. Are new subscribers mainly connected to PRIEM tariff plans?
E.R. Yes, mostly new. Our task was to make an offer corresponding to the existing payment system for existing subscribers. We did not go for dumping. A reasonable person, if he compares our tariffs, will see that there is no dumping. We did not want to force subscribers to rush between tariff plans, from one to another. There was a desire to make an offer that would give new opportunities for cellular subscribers in Moscow.

RECEIVING is not an invention of the bicycle, it is a normal tariff policy in most European countries. On the contrary, the Russian situation, when money is taken for incoming calls, is rather unique. You need to understand that this is not caused by the "redneck" of the operator companies, but is determined by the established practice of financial relations between the operator companies. We make some conscious sacrifices, if you like, to give our subscribers more comfortable conditions than they can get from competitors.

Free inbox is an offer that is addressed to the middle class, the most socially active category, people who earn their money. These people do not need a “freebie”, it humiliates them. These are people who want fair conditions. This is our main idea in new tariffs, to give subscribers fair conditions.

If you look at the cost per minute, the new plans aren't particularly different from competitors' offerings, but they're fair. Because here a person is responsible only for what he does himself. The person decided to call, he pays for it. If they call him, it's not his choice, why should he pay for it? This proposal should be viewed not as an attempt to blow up the market and not as dumping. (We cannot dump, for our company this is a road to nowhere.) Our only goal is to give a unique offer to the market and subscribers. I think that MegaFon's competitors will not be able to repeat this offer. This is also an important factor. We took it into account when forming tariffs. We want to make offers that will be associated only with our company. We do not seek to enter into direct competition with MTS and Beeline, especially in the field of prices.

E.M. How much has the influx of new subscribers increased now?
E.R. We can operate with some figures, but they will always look less interesting than those of MegaFon's competitors, because we are now at the start. This is not to say that the company did nothing the previous year, it just needs to be understood: our company is now like a floating submarine. Now only a superstructure has appeared above the water. Throughout the past year, MegaFon has been intensively building a network, all resources and opportunities have been thrown at solving this problem. It was necessary to create a quality product. It is impossible to create a network in one day, this requires huge efforts, financial resources. Our company has made every effort to create conditions when the proposals of the new operator will be taken seriously by the market. Today MegaFon has become a real player.

E.M. How do you feel about the fact that in the Moscow market, operators often copy the actions of competitors. So, tariff plans similar in name, similar services appear. You said that you strive to offer unique services to subscribers, how does this fit with such a situation on the market?
E.R. To offer exclusive services, paradoxically, is possible. GSM is standardized, all services are also standard, but companies and their services may differ - this is my belief. The point here is the service philosophy of the company. At the moment, you correctly noticed that there is copying at the level of tariffs. The task of our company is to build up our offer from others similar to each other.Objectively, we are not interested in telling potential subscribers: “It's either us or MTS. Either we or Beeline.” We want to offer subscribers a choice, this is our position in the market. We don't mind if our subscribers use both our network and some other network at the same time >Tecno DroiPad 10D 16 GB Black, no problem. If the subscriber receives part of the services from us, and part of the services from MTS or Beeline, why not? This is a big plus of GSM technology, you can change the network in a couple of seconds. You can change your operator at any time to get some service from another operator. When we see the penetration of mobile communications in a number of countries over 100 percent, this does not mean that some virtual people have appeared there. It's just that some subscribers have several phones or SIM-cards, while they receive part of the services from one operator, part from another. Dumb copying the tariffs and services of another operator in such conditions will not work, therefore our company is interested in promoting unique services and tariffs.

E.M. How is the fact that packet data transfer (GPRS) appeared in MegaFon later than in Beeline, and the tariffs were much higher, consistent with such a policy of the company. High tariffs do not fit into the concept that you outlined, based on what, they were made?
E.R. Our actions are very clear. Let me emphasize that we are not going to dump, we do not want to initiate price wars. Our position is different. With regard to GPRS, the situation is as follows. We do not experiment on subscribers - if MegaFon offers a certain service, it guarantees that it is of high quality and can be used. We offer a service that you can use, and not just think that it is available. This real service has a cost. Of course, I can offer a hypothetical opportunity to fly to the Moon in 100 years for 10 kopecks, or I can offer to fly to another city by plane for 2,000 rubles. You can compare these two sentences.

We still offer a real service at a real commercial price. This service is available to all subscribers, I emphasize to everyone, including those using pre-paid (we do not divide subscribers into good and bad, we try to provide equal services to everyone). At the same time, we must offer a competitive price, we are not going to use our leadership in some area in order to “skim the cream”. Our GPRS pricing is competitive for a specific usage profile, ie. for people who need operational data. We take a small, I emphasize, a small margin for efficiency. This is understandable, because our cost of equipment is higher than that of wired providers.Sometimes our services turn out to be more profitable than even dial up. And using GPRS for web surfing is not the best solution, for this it is better to sit in front of a large computer screen at home and calmly view the necessary information there. We position our service as online access to information, as such it is indispensable and cannot be compared with traditional methods of accessing the network.

E.M. Thank you very much for an interesting conversation. And, the last, which has already become a traditional question, any wishes, words for our readers?
E.R. To all readers - good luck in all your endeavors. And our existing and future subscribers - only positive emotions from the services provided by the MegaFon network. For our part, we will do everything to justify their trust.

Back to news »

Megafon network in the Moscow region, answers from Megafon commercial director Eldar Razroev

New initiatives of the mobile operator Megafon in Moscow, in particular the introduction of PRIEM tariff plans, raised a wave of discussions. And who better than others can tell about the company's policy, if not the person responsible for marketing? Our interlocutor today, Eldar Razroev, commercial director of CJSC Sonic Duo of the Megafon network in the Moscow region. Eldar has come a long way to this place of work, back in 1995-1996 he headed the marketing service of VimpelCom OJSC, later in 2001 he came to VimpelCom-R, from where he got to Megafon. But let's ask questions that need answers. So, the word to Eldar.

E.M. Everyone talks about the coverage of the MegaFon network when it comes to its capabilities and services. How do you usually answer questions about coverage?
Comparing our regional coverage with that of competitors - just at the card level - the consumer sees that we have less coverage in the region. That is, he may not need the village of Vaskino, 120 km from Moscow, but he thinks that once every 10 years he may need it. This disadvantage is still there, and it plays a certain role when choosing a network. We cannot but take this into account, and we form our proposal, taking into account the fact of a certain backlog in the region. We give the subscriber something more, which makes the subscriber make this (in my opinion, insignificant) sacrifice.

Today, our coverage in Moscow is competitive. This is not a slogan, I tested it myself. I had certain stereotypes with which I came to the company. In particular, about the insufficient coverage of MegaFon in Moscow. But as soon as I became a subscriber of the MegaFon network, I was able to make sure that the coverage was competitive. These are my own feelings.

E.M. Let me disagree, I live on Leninsky Prospekt, near the Moscow department store, there is no MegaFon coverage in the houses, it is weak on the street. In another apartment nearby on Vavilov Street, there is no coverage either in the house or on the street. Periodically, the connection in these places is manifested. If we talk about this area, then, moving along Profsoyuznaya Street, you can see that the MegaFon network is always there, it is enough to turn into courtyards, and it gradually disappears.
E.R. There is private experience and the law of large numbers. I proceed from the fact that there is not a single network in Moscow, and I think in the world, that would provide absolute coverage even within the city limits. All operators have holes. If some operator says that we have holes in the coverage in our city, he will be right. But I will also be right if I say that any operator has holes. They can not be, this is not a wired connection. At the same time, it is obvious that an operator with a large subscriber base should have fewer holes. Simply because the density of base stations is higher. After all, a single base station can have a limited number of radio channels, and with an increase in the number of subscribers, the operator is forced to increase the number of radio channels per unit area.

However, it is not the number of holes that is more important, but the integral indicator of the quality of communication. It is determined not so much by the presence or absence of holes (after all, there is a voice mail that will pick up calls), but by the ability to get through. It's no secret that in large networks, subscribers are more likely to face the problem of channel occupancy. Our network has excess capacity resources; on the radio part, we have several times the capacity. I will not give exact figures, this is commercial information, but this is an excess not by percentages, but by several times. Therefore, the integral quality within Moscow is currently competitive with us. In the vast majority of cases, this is a connection on the first attempt and a quality connection even with minimal indication of reception. I'm not saying we're better, but we're definitely not worse.

E.M. What about switching capacity?
E.R. Switching capacity is easier. You understand, it takes two weeks to install the switch. Delivered, integrated it into the system and - forward. We work on equipment from Ericsson, this is high-end in the field of network equipment, there are no surprises here at all (pah, pah, pah). This is really very good for the operator, we can safely develop, at any time and with minimal risks, increasing the network capacity.

Let's just say that cellular companies have different equipment and it behaves differently. For some, switches fall with regularity once every one and a half months. I will not name the companies, subscribers see it (but, perhaps, not everyone understands what is happening). Someone has problems with the integration of equipment in the network and so on.

E.M. At one of the press conferences, a representative of your company said that MegaFon was introducing about 15 base stations a week. A map was provided for January 1, 2004, which showed that the coverage of the territory had increased significantly. Now the rate of introduction of the BS will increase?!
E.R. This is an uneven commissioning, we can say that we put into operation at least one base station per day. There are weeks when we introduce up to 20 stations. I would not like to operate here with any specific figures, since the information is again commercial, we are not a public company, and we do not announce such figures. I can only speak relatively. I recently came across information about the development of the Beeline network in 1999-2000. If you remember, the jump in Beeline sales occurred in 2000, today we correspond approximately to the beginning of 2000 Beeline. That breakthrough was due to the fact that Beeline provided a certain level of coverage, and it made it possible to seriously compete with MTS. Now we are in the same phase, in terms of the number of base stations, in terms of coverage. The market has certainly changed, but there is every reason for us to work in this market seriously, without any discounts for a newcomer.

E.M. At the MTS press conference at the beginning of the year, one of the company's executives mentioned that MegaFon had practically no coverage in the 900 MHz band. Your comments?
ER This is a mistake in this case. I officially declare that our company has coverage in the 900 range. Moreover, in the near future the number of 900 frequencies will increase, which will lead to better coverage. Yes, the 900 range is the most important for the operator, but as the European experience shows, it is possible to make coverage only in the 1800 range. This is a question of price - the operator's costs for the network. There must be an objective attitude to this problem. At the moment we have coverage in the 900 range, and it makes no sense for me to justify the networks that will be built only in 1800. However, I don't want people to have illusions about this. You need to understand that the coverage in the area, which is 900, which is the same in 1800. The reason for this is the physics of radio wave propagation. The problem occurs only in the city, this is due to the characteristics of the absorption of radio waves in the 900 and 1800 range. In this sense, the 900 range is more attractive, since the signal absorption in the city is less.

I repeat, for us the problem of poor coverage no longer exists, our coverage within Moscow is competitive.

E.M. Let's go back to the map at the beginning of 2004, it shows that the coverage area of ​​the network has increased. But will coverage be improved where the network already exists, for example, within the city?
E.R. You know, this is a thing that depends little on the good will of the operator. Ideally, the operator would only install BS to increase the coverage area, but since both the number of subscribers and the load on the network are growing, he is forced to install additional BS and he cannot help but do this. The more subscribers we have, the more and better coverage will be in the city.

E.M. If we talk about competition, I would like to ask about the new PRIEM tariff plans. They caused a stir in the market, queues appeared in MegaFon offices.
E.R. The dynamics of network connections has increased significantly. But we are not happy with the queues, we redirect the flow of subscribers to dealers. It is more profitable for us to sell ourselves, but the most important thing for us is the quality of service. We do not need a subscriber at any cost. Now we are taking measures to recruit and train additional staff - we will try to remove the problem of queues in offices as soon as possible.

E.M. Are new subscribers mainly connected to PRIEM tariff plans?
E.R. Yes, mostly new. Our task was to make an offer corresponding to the existing payment system for existing subscribers. We did not go for dumping. A reasonable person, if he compares our tariffs, will see that there is no dumping. We did not want to force subscribers to rush between tariff plans, from one to another. There was a desire to make an offer that would give new opportunities for cellular subscribers in Moscow.

RECEIVING is not an invention of the bicycle, it is a normal tariff policy in most European countries. On the contrary, the Russian situation, when money is taken for incoming calls, is rather unique. You need to understand that this is not caused by the "redneck" of the operator companies, but is determined by the established practice of financial relations between the operator companies. We make some conscious sacrifices, if you like, to give our subscribers more comfortable conditions than they can get from competitors.

Free inbox is an offer that is addressed to the middle class, the most socially active category, people who earn their money. These people do not need a “freebie”, it humiliates them. These are people who want fair conditions. This is our main idea in new tariffs, to give subscribers fair conditions.

If you look at the cost per minute, the new plans aren't particularly different from competitors' offerings, but they're fair. Because here a person is responsible only for what he does himself. The person decided to call, he pays for it. If they call him, it's not his choice, why should he pay for it? This proposal should be viewed not as an attempt to blow up the market and not as dumping. (We cannot dump, for our company this is a road to nowhere.) Our only goal is to give a unique offer to the market and subscribers. I think that MegaFon's competitors will not be able to repeat this offer. This is also an important factor. We took it into account when forming tariffs. We want to make offers that will be associated only with our company. We do not seek to enter into direct competition with MTS and Beeline, especially in the field of prices.

E.M. How much has the influx of new subscribers increased now?
E.R. We can operate with some figures, but they will always look less interesting than those of MegaFon's competitors, because we are now at the start. This is not to say that the company did nothing the previous year, it just needs to be understood: our company is now like a floating submarine. Now only a superstructure has appeared above the water. Throughout the past year, MegaFon has been intensively building a network, all resources and opportunities have been thrown at solving this problem. It was necessary to create a quality product. It is impossible to create a network in one day, this requires huge efforts, financial resources. Our company has made every effort to create conditions when the proposals of the new operator will be taken seriously by the market. Today MegaFon has become a real player.

E.M. How do you feel about the fact that in the Moscow market, operators often copy the actions of competitors. So, tariff plans similar in name, similar services appear. You said that you strive to offer unique services to subscribers, how does this fit with such a situation on the market?
E.R. To offer exclusive services, paradoxically, is possible. GSM is standardized, all services are also standard, but companies and their services may differ - this is my belief. The point here is the service philosophy of the company. At the moment, you correctly noticed that there is copying at the level of tariffs. The task of our company is to build up our offer from others similar to each other.Objectively, we are not interested in telling potential subscribers: “It's either us or MTS. Either we or Beeline.” We want to offer subscribers a choice, this is our position in the market. We don't mind if our subscribers use both our network and some other network at the same time >Tecno DroiPad 10D 16 GB Black, no problem. If the subscriber receives part of the services from us, and part of the services from MTS or Beeline, why not? This is a big plus of GSM technology, you can change the network in a couple of seconds. You can change your operator at any time to get some service from another operator. When we see the penetration of mobile communications in a number of countries over 100 percent, this does not mean that some virtual people have appeared there. It's just that some subscribers have several phones or SIM-cards, while they receive part of the services from one operator, part from another. Dumb copying the tariffs and services of another operator in such conditions will not work, therefore our company is interested in promoting unique services and tariffs.

E.M. How is the fact that packet data transfer (GPRS) appeared in MegaFon later than in Beeline, and the tariffs were much higher, consistent with such a policy of the company. High tariffs do not fit into the concept that you outlined, based on what, they were made?
E.R. Our actions are very clear. Let me emphasize that we are not going to dump, we do not want to initiate price wars. Our position is different. With regard to GPRS, the situation is as follows. We do not experiment on subscribers - if MegaFon offers a certain service, it guarantees that it is of high quality and can be used. We offer a service that you can use, and not just think that it is available. This real service has a cost. Of course, I can offer a hypothetical opportunity to fly to the Moon in 100 years for 10 kopecks, or I can offer to fly to another city by plane for 2,000 rubles. You can compare these two sentences.

We still offer a real service at a real commercial price. This service is available to all subscribers, I emphasize to everyone, including those using pre-paid (we do not divide subscribers into good and bad, we try to provide equal services to everyone). At the same time, we must offer a competitive price, we are not going to use our leadership in some area in order to “skim the cream”. Our GPRS pricing is competitive for a specific usage profile, ie. for people who need operational data. We take a small, I emphasize, a small margin for efficiency. This is understandable, because our cost of equipment is higher than that of wired providers.Sometimes our services turn out to be more profitable than even dial up. And using GPRS for web surfing is not the best solution, for this it is better to sit in front of a large computer screen at home and calmly view the necessary information there. We position our service as online access to information, as such it is indispensable and cannot be compared with traditional methods of accessing the network.

E.M. Thank you very much for an interesting conversation. And, the last, which has already become a traditional question, any wishes, words for our readers?
E.R. To all readers - good luck in all your endeavors. And our existing and future subscribers - only positive emotions from the services provided by the MegaFon network. For our part, we will do everything to justify their trust.

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Megafon network in the Moscow region, answers from Megafon commercial director Eldar Razroev

New initiatives of the mobile operator Megafon in Moscow, in particular the introduction of PRIEM tariff plans, raised a wave of discussions. And who better than others can tell about the company's policy, if not the person responsible for marketing? Our interlocutor today, Eldar Razroev, commercial director of CJSC Sonic Duo of the Megafon network in the Moscow region. Eldar has come a long way to this place of work, back in 1995-1996 he headed the marketing service of VimpelCom OJSC, later in 2001 he came to VimpelCom-R, from where he got to Megafon. But let's ask questions that need answers. So, the word to Eldar.

E.M. Everyone talks about the coverage of the MegaFon network when it comes to its capabilities and services. How do you usually answer coverage questions? Comparing our regional coverage with that of competitors - just at the card level - the consumer sees that we have less coverage in the region. That is, he may not need the village of Vaskino, 120 km from Moscow, but he thinks that once every 10 years he may need it. This disadvantage is still there, and it plays a certain role when choosing a network. We cannot but take this into account, and we form our proposal, taking into account the fact of a certain backlog in the region. We give the subscriber something more that makes the subscriber make this (in my opinion, insignificant) sacrifice.

Today, our coverage in Moscow is competitive. This is not a slogan, I tested it myself. I had some stereotypes with which I came to the company. In particular, about the insufficient coverage of MegaFon in Moscow. But as soon as I became a subscriber of the MegaFon network, I was able to make sure that the coverage was competitive. These are my own feelings.

E.M. Let me disagree, I live on Leninsky Prospekt, near the Moscow department store, there is no MegaFon coverage in the houses, it is weak on the street. In another apartment nearby on Vavilov Street, there is no coverage either in the house or on the street. Periodically, the connection in these places is manifested. If we talk about this area, then, moving along Profsoyuznaya Street, you can see that the MegaFon network is always there, it is enough to turn into courtyards, and it gradually disappears. E.R. There is private experience and the law of large numbers. I proceed from the fact that there is not a single network in Moscow, and I think in the world, that would provide absolute coverage even within the city limits. All operators have holes. If some operator says that we have holes in the coverage in our city, he will be right. But I will also be right if I say that any operator has holes. They can not be, this is not a wired connection. At the same time, it is obvious that an operator with a large subscriber base should have fewer holes. Simply because the density of base stations is higher. After all, a single base station can have a limited number of radio channels, and with an increase in the number of subscribers, the operator is forced to increase the number of radio channels per unit area.

However, it is not the number of holes that is more important, but the integral indicator of the quality of communication. It is determined not so much by the presence or absence of holes (after all, there is a voice mail that will pick up calls), but by the ability to get through. It's no secret that in large networks, subscribers are more likely to face the problem of channel occupancy. Our network has excess capacity resources; on the radio part, we have several times the capacity. I will not give exact figures, this is commercial information, but this is an excess not by percentages, but by several times. Therefore, the integral quality within Moscow is currently competitive with us. In the vast majority of cases, this is a connection on the first attempt and a quality connection even with minimal indication of reception. I'm not saying we're better, but we're definitely not worse.

E.M. What about switching capacity? E.R. Switching capacity is easier. You understand, it takes two weeks to install the switch. Delivered, integrated it into the system and - forward. We work on equipment from Ericsson, this is high-end in the field of network equipment, there are no surprises here at all (pah, pah, pah). This is really very good for the operator, we can safely develop, at any time and with minimal risks, increasing the network capacity.

Let's just say that cellular companies have different equipment and it behaves differently. For some, switches fall with regularity once every one and a half months. I will not name the companies, subscribers see it (but, perhaps, not everyone understands what is happening). Someone has problems with the integration of equipment in the network and so on.

E.M. At one of the press conferences, a representative of your company said that MegaFon was introducing about 15 base stations a week. A map was provided for January 1, 2004, which showed that the coverage of the territory had increased significantly. Now the rate of input of BS will increase?! E.R. This is an uneven commissioning, we can say that we put into operation at least one base station per day. There are weeks when we introduce up to 20 stations. I would not like to operate here with any specific figures, since the information is again commercial, we are not a public company, and we do not announce such figures. I can only speak relatively. I recently came across information about the development of the Beeline network in 1999-2000. If you remember, the jump in Beeline sales occurred in 2000, today we correspond approximately to the beginning of 2000 Beeline. That breakthrough was due to the fact that Beeline provided a certain level of coverage, and it made it possible to seriously compete with MTS. Now we are in the same phase, in terms of the number of base stations, in terms of coverage. The market has certainly changed, but there is every reason for us to work in this market seriously, without any discounts for a newcomer.

E.M. At the MTS press conference at the beginning of the year, one of the company's executives mentioned that MegaFon had practically no coverage in the 900 MHz band. Your comments? E.R. In this case, this is a mistake. I officially declare that our company has coverage in the 900 range. Moreover, in the near future the number of 900 frequencies will increase, which will lead to better coverage. Yes, the 900 range is the most important for the operator, but as the European experience shows, it is possible to make coverage only in the 1800 range. This is a question of price - the operator's costs for the network. There must be an objective attitude to this problem. At the moment we have coverage in the 900 range, and it makes no sense for me to justify the networks that will be built only in 1800. However, I don't want people to have illusions about this. You need to understand that the coverage in the area, which is 900, which is the same in 1800. The reason for this is the physics of radio wave propagation. The problem occurs only in the city, this is due to the characteristics of the absorption of radio waves in the 900 and 1800 range. In this sense, the 900 range is more attractive, since the signal absorption in the city is less.

I repeat, for us the problem of poor coverage no longer exists, our coverage within Moscow is competitive.

E.M. Let's go back to the map at the beginning of 2004, it shows that the coverage area of ​​the network has increased. And will coverage be improved where the network already exists, for example, within the city? E.R. You know, this is a thing that depends little on the good will of the operator. Ideally, the operator would only install BS to increase the coverage area, but since both the number of subscribers and the load on the network are growing, he is forced to install additional BS and he cannot help but do this. The more subscribers we have, the more and better coverage will be in the city.

E.M. If we talk about competition, I would like to ask about the new PRIEM tariff plans. They caused a stir in the market, queues appeared in MegaFon offices. E.R. The dynamics of network connections has increased significantly. But we are not happy with the queues, we redirect the flow of subscribers to dealers. It is more profitable for us to sell ourselves, but the most important thing for us is the quality of service. We do not need a subscriber at any cost. Now we are taking measures to recruit and train additional staff - we will try to remove the problem of queues in offices as soon as possible.

E.M. Are new subscribers mainly connected to PRIEM tariff plans? E.R. Yes, mostly new. Our task was to make an offer corresponding to the existing payment system for existing subscribers. We did not go for dumping. A reasonable person, if he compares our tariffs, will see that there is no dumping. We did not want to force subscribers to rush between tariff plans, from one to another. There was a desire to make an offer that would give new opportunities for cellular subscribers in Moscow.

RECEIVING is not an invention of the bicycle, it is a normal tariff policy in most European countries. On the contrary, the Russian situation, when money is taken for incoming calls, is rather unique. You need to understand that this is not caused by the "redneck" of the operator companies, but is determined by the established practice of financial relations between the operator companies. We make some conscious sacrifices, if you like, to give our subscribers more comfortable conditions than they can get from competitors.

Free inbox is an offer that is addressed to the middle class, the most socially active category, people who earn their money. These people do not need a “freebie”, it humiliates them. These are people who want fair conditions. This is our main idea in new tariffs, to give subscribers fair conditions.

If you look at the cost per minute, the new plans aren't particularly different from competitors' offerings, but they're fair. Because here a person is responsible only for what he does himself. The person decided to call, he pays for it. If they call him, it's not his choice, why should he pay for it? This proposal should be viewed not as an attempt to blow up the market and not as dumping. (We cannot dump, for our company this is a road to nowhere.) Our only goal is to give a unique offer to the market and subscribers. I think that MegaFon's competitors will not be able to repeat this offer. This is also an important factor. We took it into account when forming tariffs. We want to make offers that will be associated only with our company. We do not seek to enter into direct competition with MTS and Beeline, especially in the field of prices.

E.M. How much has the influx of new subscribers increased now? E.R. We can operate with some figures, but they will always look less interesting than those of MegaFon's competitors, because we are now at the start. This is not to say that the company did nothing the previous year, it just needs to be understood: our company is now like a floating submarine. Now only a superstructure has appeared above the water. Throughout the past year, MegaFon has been intensively building a network, all resources and opportunities have been thrown at solving this problem. It was necessary to create a quality product. It is impossible to create a network in one day, this requires huge efforts, financial resources. Our company has made every effort to create conditions when the proposals of the new operator will be taken seriously by the market. Today MegaFon has become a real player.

E.M. How do you feel about the fact that in the Moscow market, operators often copy the actions of competitors. So, tariff plans similar in name, similar services appear. You said that you are striving to offer unique services to subscribers, how does this fit with such a situation on the market? E.R. To offer exclusive services, paradoxically, is possible. GSM is standardized, all services are also standard, but companies and their services may differ - this is my belief. The point here is the service philosophy of the company. At the moment, you correctly noticed that there is copying at the level of tariffs. The task of our company is to build up our offer from others similar to each other. Objectively, we are not interested in telling potential subscribers: “It's either us or MTS.Either we or Beeline.” We want to offer subscribers a choice, this is our position in the market. We do not mind if our subscribers use both our network and some other Tecno DroiPad 10D 16 GB Black at the same time, this is not a problem. If the subscriber receives part of the services from us, and part of the services from MTS or Beeline, why not? This is a big plus of GSM technology, you can change the network in a couple of seconds. You can change your operator at any time to get some service from another operator. When we see the penetration of mobile communications in a number of countries over 100 percent, this does not mean that some virtual people have appeared there. It's just that some subscribers have several phones or SIM-cards, while they receive part of the services from one operator, part from another. Dumb copying the tariffs and services of another operator in such conditions will not work, therefore our company is interested in promoting unique services and tariffs.

E.M. How do you feel about the fact that in the Moscow market, operators often copy the actions of competitors. So, tariff plans similar in name, similar services appear. You said that you strive to offer unique services to subscribers, how does this fit with such a market situation?
E.R. To offer exclusive services, paradoxically, is possible. GSM is standardized, all services are also standard, but companies and their services may differ - this is my belief. The point here is the service philosophy of the company. At the moment, you correctly noticed that there is copying at the level of tariffs. The task of our company is to build up its offer from others similar to each other. Objectively, we are not interested in telling potential subscribers: “It's either us or MTS. Either we or Beeline.” We want to offer subscribers a choice, this is our position in the market. We do not mind if our subscribers use both our network and some other Tecno DroiPad 10D 16 GB Black Tecno DroiPad 10D 16 GB Black , this is not a problem. If the subscriber receives part of the services from us, and part of the services from MTS or Beeline, why not? This is a big plus of GSM technology, you can change the network in a couple of seconds. You can change your operator at any time to get some service from another operator. When we see the penetration of mobile communications in a number of countries over 100 percent, this does not mean that some virtual people have appeared there. It's just that some subscribers have several phones or SIM-cards, while they receive part of the services from one operator, part from another. Dumb copying of tariffs and services of another operator in such conditions will not give anything, therefore our company is interested in promoting unique services and tariffs.

E.M. How is the fact that packet data transfer (GPRS) appeared in MegaFon later than in Beeline, and the tariffs were much higher, consistent with such a policy of the company. High tariffs do not fit into the concept that you outlined, based on what, they were made? E.R. Our actions are very clear. Let me emphasize that we are not going to dump, we do not want to initiate price wars. Our position is different. With regard to GPRS, the situation is as follows. We do not experiment on subscribers - if MegaFon offers a certain service, it guarantees that it is of high quality and can be used. We offer a service that you can use, and not just think that it is available. This real service has a cost. Of course, I can offer a hypothetical opportunity to fly to the Moon in 100 years for 10 kopecks, or I can offer to fly to another city by plane for 2,000 rubles. You can compare these two sentences.

We still offer a real service at a real commercial price. This service is available to all subscribers, I emphasize to everyone, including those using pre-paid (we do not divide subscribers into good and bad, we try to provide equal services to everyone). At the same time, we must offer a competitive price, we are not going to use our leadership in some area in order to “skim the cream”. Our GPRS pricing is competitive for a specific usage profile, ie. for people who need operational data. We take a small, I emphasize, a small margin for efficiency. This is understandable, because our cost of equipment is higher than that of wired providers. Sometimes our services turn out to be more profitable than even dial up. And using GPRS for web surfing is not the best solution, for this it is better to sit in front of a large computer screen at home and calmly view the necessary information there. We position our service as online access to information, as such it is indispensable and cannot be compared with traditional methods of accessing the network.

E.M. Thank you very much for an interesting conversation. And, the last, which has already become a traditional question, any wishes, words for our readers? E.R. To all readers - good luck in all your endeavors. And our existing and future subscribers - only positive emotions from the services provided by the MegaFon network. For our part, we will do everything to justify their trust.