The Russian Communication Ministry issued a license to the MobileTeleSystems (MTS) cellular operator, authorizing it to provide GSM-900services in the Saratov region. The current rate of mobile servicepenetration is 5.3 percent in this region. MTS has put its network intooperation in the Perm, Chelyabinsk, Arkhangelsk , Tambov and Altai regionsand the Republic of Karelia. In July of 2002 the company acquired theMobicom-Barnaul wireless service provider, which holds a license in theAltai region. MTS' market share in St. Petersburg grew to 29 percent and amounted toabout 500,000 users. The company also reports its business in St.Petersburg has become profitable if calculated on the basis of EBITDA. Inthe 2nd quarter of 2002 MTS launched a network in Beralus. This network isoperated by a Russian-Belarusian joint venture, in which 49 percent is heldby MTS. The client base of Mobile TeleSystems currently consists of 10,500subscribers. .