Leonid Reiman, Russian deputy minister for transport and communication, has invited British investors to develop the Russian telecommunication market.
Appearing at the Russian economic forum in London on Tuesday, Reiman spoke of the sector's performance last year and outlook for the next few years.
"The sphere of telecommunications has done a weighty share in the indicators of economic growth in 2003", Reiman said. Last year electric communication was over 40 percent, mail 30 percent and information technologies 20 percent up.
"Communication is among the most liberalised sectors of Russia's infrastructure", he said. And recalled that back in 1994 as many as 97.5 percent of the sector's enterprises were run by the state. Now Russia is completing the turn from monopolistic to competition market, Reiman noted. The state now owns only 40 percent of the companies.
The mobile communication market is setting the pace. The development rate of mobile communication in Russia is higher than in many countries of Europe, Reiman said. Last year profits from the operation of cellular companies came up to 283.5 billion roubles (1 dollar approximately equals 28.5 roubles); the total volume of communication services was 360 billion roubles. The growth of capitalisation was registered by the companies Svyazinvest, MTS and Vympelkom, quoted on the market, Reiman noted.
Satellite technologies are also developing at a high pace in Russia. Several spacecraft will be orbited this year to provide the basis for the further development of telecommunications.
Winding up his utterances, Leonid Reiman noted that Russian legislation, in particular the communication law in effect since the start of this year, is the guarantee of the provision of quality services to the public country-wide, no matter if users live in megapolises or backwoods regions. Reiman has promised to potential investors to update Russian legislation towards the simplification of licensing and creation of more lucrative conditions for investments.
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