The total volume of the Russian market of telecommunication services will reach $12bn by the end of 2003, Russian Deputy Telecommunications Minister Boris Antonyuk declared in his report at the forum "The Line of Reforms. Telecommunications and Legislation for Regulating the Sector". According to him, the growth in the market of telecommunication services was 45 percent in the first eight months of this year. The advance in the number of mobile users reached 58 percent in the reported period. Antonyuk noted that the total number of mobile users would amount to about 35m people in Russia by the end of 2003, which was 24 percent of the country's total population.
The deputy minister also mentioned that the share of the telecommunications sector in the country's GDP was about 2 percent currently. He admitted that it was considerably lower than a corresponding ratio in highly developed countries.
An explosion of household gas occurred in a nine-storeyed apartment building in the city of Shakhty, the Rostov region of Russia. The blast destroyed two storeys of the building