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On October 2, 2008, Mega Fon launched for operation the first Russian fragment of the third generation network in IMT-2000/UMTS (3G) at the territory of Saint Petersburg and Leningrad region.
For the first time ever in this country the radio access sub-system UTRAN (UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access Network) was launched for trial commercial operation and included 30 base stations.
In its turn, Scartel will be able to use Mega Fon’s infrastructure.
At that moment, North-West GSM was merged with Sonic Duo CJSC (Moscow), Ural GSM CJSC (Yekaterinburg), Mobicom-Kavkaz CJSC (Krasnodar), Mobicom-Center CJSC, Mobicom-Novosibirsk CJSC, Mobicom-Khabarovsk CJSC, MCS-Povolzhie OJSC, Volzhsky GSM (Saransk, Republic of Mordovia).
The company covered mostly the areas of dislocation of the Russian military forces present in Georgia under the CIS peacekeeping mandate.
The rest of the area was mostly covered by the Georgian mobile phone carriers "Geocell" Ltd. In the spring of 2008, GNCC received complaints from Georgian mobile communication companies regarding the destruction of their communication facilities in the region and installation of Mega Fon antennas.
The major international investors included Scandinavian companies Sonera (Finland), Telia International AB (Sweden) and Telenor Invest AS (Norway). 1999 – number of the company’s subscribers became over 100,000.
By that time the network of the North-West GSM had completely covered Saint Petersburg and Leningrad region, it was also actively expanding in the northern areas of the Russian North-West.