MTS was established in October 1993 by Moscow City Telephone Network (MGTS), T-Mobile Deutschland GmbH (T-Mobile), an affiliate of Deutsche Telekom AG, Siemens AG (Siemens) and several other shareholders. In late 1996, Sistema JSFC acquired a majority stake in MTS and has remained the primary owner ever since.
MTS was the first company to launch GSM services in the Moscow region in 1994. In subsequent years, MTS has expanded rapidly in Russia largely through the acquisition of smaller independent players and became the leading national mobile operator.
MTS initiated its international expansion in 2002 through the establishment of Mobile TeleSystems LLC, a joint venture with Beltelecom, the national fixed line operator in Belarus.
In 2003, MTS continued to expand in the CIS by acquiring the leading operator UMC in Ukraine, the biggest CIS market outside of Russia.
MTS entered Central Asia in 2004 through the acquisition of the leading mobile phone operator in Uzbekistan, Uzdunrobita. In June 2005, the Company acquired Barash Communications Technologies, Inc., the number one operator in Turkmenistan.
In September 2007, MTS continued its international expansion through the acquisition of the leading mobile operator in Armenia, K-Telecom.
In December 2008, MTS started to expose its brand outside the CIS borders. MTS and Shyam Telelink Limited, JSFC Sistema's telecommunications subsidiary in India, announces the agreement to allow Shyam Telelink to use MTS brand in India. The decision to introduce the brand to India is reflective of the brand’s success in the Company’s markets of operation since its launch in May 2006. In April 2008, MTS brand was recognized as one of the BRANDZ™ Top 100 Most Powerful Brands, a ranking published by the Financial Times and Millward Brown, a leading global market research and consulting firm.
Today, Mobile TeleSystems is the largest mobile phone operator in Russia and the CIS. MTS is a multinational corporation of a new type, based in a high-growth emerging market and simultaneously entering other developing markets with a unified brand. Having been recognized internationally for corporate governance and transparency, MTS is not only a leading Russian blue-chip company, but a truly global organization.