During the 2020 pandemic year, Tele2 maintained double-digit growth in key indicators for financial and operational performance. At the end of year, the company had increased its revenue by 13.6%, and the number of active clients grew by 20% when compared to the year before. While the client base of other operators stagnated, Tele2 managed to increase its customers.
The coronavirus epidemic had an adjusting effect on the company's development plans. Compared to 2019, the use of mobile Internet increased by 57% and voice services by 12%. The company reacted rapidly to the increased need for traffic by building new networks and increasing their capacity. Tele2 managed to maintain high service quality in spite of the extreme conditions. Despite the pandemic, the company started providing services in the Republic of Altay, increasing its presence to total of 68 regions.
With the “Other rules” platform, Tele2 continued to provide its clients with innovative digital services. It responded to the epidemiological crisis by radically speeding up the release of new products to the market. In a matter of weeks, Tele2 launched a virtual “House by other rules" service open and free-of-charge to all clients. It provided private tours of the Hermitage museum, lectures from Arzamas, culinary master classes from top chefs, online trainings, and best international TV shows. To support its customers at the peak of lockdown restrictions, Tele2 launched the “Stay home by other rules” project that provided an additional gigabyte of Internet traffic for each day of self-isolation. Developing the ecosystem of services through partnerships, Tele2 also offered two unique products with integrated non-telecom content: the Gaming (Igrovoy) plan with bonuses for gamers and the plan for lovers of movies and film series with a subscription to the Wink multimedia service.
To keep its business efficient during the coronavirus crisis, Tele2 focused on the development of digital channels and the creation of new methods for delivering SIM cards. To keep customers safe, the company offered contactless delivery with the ability to self-register cards. In just one weekend, Tele2 also introduced the delivery of SIM-cards by Yandex.Taxi drivers. Customers could also visit a store and simply take their card without the participation of the staff, then activate it at home. Tele2 started selling SIM cards on Wildberries and Ozon marketplaces.
To support 5G development, the operator conducted the first Russian live stream on millimeter wave band of the fifth generation network in an urban environment. In August, Tele2 launched a 5G international roaming service in Switzerland on the Sunrise network. During the autumn, Tele2 and SberMobile (which is developing its MVNO project on the operator's network) made an agreement to study 5G for creating a digital twin of a city and control unmanned vehicles. Tele2 carried out comprehensive modernization of the Internet of Things (IoT) platform based on Ericsson's cloud core network, which now allows simultaneous connection of 1 million IoT devices.
In 2020, Tele2 entered a new set of projects with famous media personalities. In September, Migo Mobile was released on the market from the business blogger Azam Khodzhaev. In early December, the reigning UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov announced the creation of the Eagle Mobile virtual operator. At the end of the year, Gazprombank launched its own MVNO project on the Tele2 network. Their total number of clients at the end of 2020 exceeded 4.8 million people.
In 2019 Tele2 outpaced the telecommunications industry growth rates. The company’s top line increased 14% compared to 2018, its net income added 144.6% y-o-y. Tele2 managed to maintain its leadership in terms of NPS. As of 2019 it totaled 43%, which outperformed the result of the nearest competitor by 12 pps. Tele2 started providing voice and high-speed Internet in new regions – Yaroslavl and Ivanovo. Over 2019 the company was taking the first place in terms of network rollout rates. According to Roskomnadzor, the company increased the number of base stations by 23%. Tele2 is ranked second in a number of 4G base stations. For a year, Tele2 increased a number of LTE stations by 43%. In line with its reputation of a trendsetter on telecom market Tele2 was the first to have introduced eSIM on the network. After the launch in Moscow, the company rolled out its project in other regions: St. Petersburg, Kazan, Perm, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhniy Novgorod, Irkutsk and Krasnoyarsk. In 2019 Tele2 was the first to have launched the 5G trial area with Ericsson in Moscow’s Tverskaya street, with the testing network stretching from Kremlin to Sadovoye Ring. The project was aiming to find out opportunities of the technology in allocated mmWave frequency (28 GHz), introduce 5G to Muscovites and show various scenarios of use in industry and routine life. In 2019 Tele2 continued successfully developing its MVNO business. A number of MVNO clients on the Tele2 network increased 115% up to 3.75 mn. Revenues from the MVNO “factory” grew 133% y-o-y. In 2019 Tele2 was named the world best MVNO host operator at the MVNOs World Congress.
In 2018, Tele2 successfully implemented the “Other rules” strategy and quarterly showed two-digit growth rates in revenues. Tele2 completed a large-scale programme on the LTE network rollout in Russian regions, bringing the number of territories with high-speed Internet up to 65. The company canceled domestic roaming charges ahead of the date set by the Federal Antimonopoly Agency (FAS). Tele2 managed to provide clients with high-quality services during 2018 FIFA World Cup: the operator built up the network at three out of the Cup’s 12 stadiums – in Kaliningrad, Nizhniy Novgorod and Saransk. Tele2 continued enhancing its reputation of a trendsetter on the Russian telecom market. As a part of the “Other rules” strategy, the company launched a number of innovative products. Thanks to the “Share gigabytes” service, Tele2 clients were the first to have started sharing data traffic with other users free of charge. Tele2 was the first to have set up SIM-issue terminals with biometry recognition technology. They appeared in three Moscow airports (Sheremetyevo, Vnukovo and Domodedovo) and at five most busy stations of the Moscow underground. Terminals provided services to users from 95 countries over 6 months. Tele2 was the first operator to have covered all stations of Moscow underground with LTE network. Investment into the project exceeded 800 mn rubles. Tele2 continued testing most up-to-date technologies. The company opened a 5G trial area in the Hermitage Museum and tested IoT solutions for energy sector in partnership with Ericsson and Rostelecom. In 2018, Tele2 confirmed its status of MVNO factory. A total number of Tele2 MVNO subscribers exceeded 1.6 mn people, which was equivalent to 50% of new connections in the MVNO segment in Russia in 2017-2018. Tele2 received Korn Ferry 2018 Employee Engagement Award Award based on the survey carried out among the company’s personnel. According to KFHG research, the operator entered the top three Russian companies in terms of engagement level.
At the beginning of 2017, Tele2 launched a new business strategy lifestyle enabler and the “Other rules” communications platform. The company overcame a trivial perception of a telecom operator and created a new digital ecosystem of mobile-based services. A new business approach provided new high-quality subscriber additions. As of 2017, a number of clients on the Tele2 network exceeded 40.6 mn people. The company launched 25 LTE networks, which increased the number of regions with 4G Internet to 50. Roskomnadzor experts recognized Tele2 as a leader in LTE rollout rates more than once. Tele2 became a leader in the MVNO development and created virtual network operators together with Rostelecom, Sberbank, TransTelecom, Tinkoff Bank and others. In December, Tele2 launched the MVNE platform and started churning out new virtual operators. Tele2 launched the “My Tele2” tariff range with an utterly new structure and content. Over the year, the operator offered products that allowed customers to tailor mobile plan to their needs and had no equals on the Russian telecom market. They are an option for transferring unused services onto the next period, “Change minutes for gygabytes” and “Customize tariff to your needs” services. Tele2 developed bonus programmes and exclusive partnership services in compliance with the new business strategy.
Tele2 finally settled its status of a federal mobile operator. Over the year, the company deployed the HD Voice technology on the 3G network in all regions of operations. In February, Tele2 started selling the first smartphone under its own brand – Tele2 Mini rapidly took leading positions on the Russian market. In 2H16, Tele2 released new branded devices − Tele2 Midi, Tele2 Midi LTE, Tele2 Maxi, Tele2 Maxi LTE. Tele2 continued 4G rollouts: high-speed wireless Internet became available in 10 more regions. In May, Tele2 launched Russia’s first LTE network in the 450 MHz spectrum in Tver and Novgorod regions. The LTE network under Skylink brand later appeared in St. Petersburg and Leningrad Region as well as in Moscow Region. In November, the operator launched Wi-Fi Calling that allowed Moscow subscribers to make and take phone calls, send SMS at home tariffs.
Tele2 subscriber base counts 35 mn subscribers in 64 Russian regions. It took the company just a year to launch the network under its own brand in 22 new regions, high-speed wireless Internet became available in 60 regions. In September Tele2 became the first among mobile operators to provide LTE at all stations of the St. Petersburg underground. St. Petersburg is the first Russian city whose underground stations are covered with the 4G Internet. In October Tele2 entered Moscow Region where it launched the most up-to-date 3G/4G network. In 2015 Tele2 completed the project on integration of Rostelecom mobile assets. The start of operations in Moscow Region and a launch of high-speed wireless Internet gave Tele2 all opportunities for further active growth and development as full-fledged federal operator.
In February Tele2 and Rostelecom announced a merger of mobile assets and setting up a new federal operator on Tele2 basis. In March Tele2 got Rostelecom’s seven mobile subsidiaries under its operational and financial control: SkyLink, Nizhniy Novgorod Mobile Networks, Baykalvestkom, BIT, Volgograd GSM, Enisey Telecom and AKOS. In August Rostelecom brought in 100% of CJSC RT Mobile shares into the joint venture. New federal mobile operator Tele2 started providing services in over 60 regions, got control over 2G/3G licenses in all federal districts and a license for 4G spectrum over all Russia. In November the company launched 3G networks in St. Petersburg and Novosibirsk.
In March Swedish Tele2 AB sold its business to Russian VTB Group for further development and consequent sale of investment. In June Tele2 closed the deal on acquisition of the Voronezh operator Kodotel – the first M&A deal over a number of years. In summer Tele2 and the Scientific Research Institute of Radio (NIIR) carried out the second series of LTE testing in 1800 MHz in its network in Kaluga Region, whereas in December the Ministry for Communications introduced technology neutrality principle. In September the company received licenses to provide mobile wireless telecommunications services based on MVNO. In October VTB sold 50% of Tele2 shares to consortium of strategic investors. The FY13 subscriber base totaled 23.7 mn people.
In spring Tele2 successfully tested the LTE 1800 network - the first one in Russia. In autumn the Company launched operations in four regions of the Far East – the Jewish Autonomous Region, Magadan Region, Sakhalin Region and the Kamchatka Territory. Tele2 mobile network extended from the country’s westernmost region to its easternmost point. In September, Tele2 Russia's subscriber base exceeded 22 million people. Apart from operational achievements, Tele2 entered the Top-10 Russian employers and was ranked 8th in the list of best European employers within the large-size companies category.
Tele2 Russia was entitled to provide GSM-1800 services in other five Russian regions – the Jewish Autonomous Region, the Kamchatka Territory, Magadan Region, Sakhalin Region, and the Chukotka Autonomous Area. Thus, Tele2’s license area has expanded to 42 regions of Russia. In August 2011, Tele2 Russia's subscriber base reached 20 million people. In September, the company launched a major project to reshape its corporate identity.
In 2010, Tele2 Russia started to provide communication services in Kaliningrad Region. By year-end, the subscriber base grew to 18.6 million people. The rapid growth rates let Tele2 Russia win the "Company of the Year" national award in the "Telecommunications" category, and secure the "Successful Debut" nomination for the "Expert-400" rating. In December 2010, as part of optimizing the business, the company opened a Joint Service Center in Voronezh, which combined the finance, accounting and tax functions of all companies within the Tele2 Russia group.
This year was an active period of regional expansion. The company continued investing in construction, despite the difficult economic situation in the country. Throughout the year, Tele2 began to provide mobile services in all regions where it had a license, with the exception of Kaliningrad Region. At this time, Tele2 had cellular service licenses in 37 Russian territorial entities and served approximately 14 million subscribers. The company planned to expand its subscriber base to 18-19 million people within the next two years.
Tele2 decided to allocate a Russian business in new regions. The company bought a cellular operator in the Republic of Adygeya. Active work got underway to construct networks in new regions. In October 2008, the number of Tele2 subscribers in Russia exceeded 10 million people. In November 2008, Tele2 Russia acquired a cellular network in Kaliningrad Region and launched its own network in the Krasnodar Territory and the Republic of Adygeya.
Tele2 launched a network in Murmansk, Arkhangelsk and Novgorod Regions. At the same time, Tele2 sold its operations in Irkutsk, acquiring the privileged national roaming through the Beeline network in addition. In October 2007, Tele2 bought a cellular operator in the Krasnodar Territory. As a result of tenders for GSM-1800 licenses, the company acquired an opportunity to expand into 17 more regions within four federal districts. Tele2 Russia’s subscriber base exceeded 8.5 million people.
Tele2 bought four GSM-operators in Arkhangelsk, Murmansk and Novgorod Regions and the Komi Republic. In the same year, the Tele2 branded companies began operations in Lipetsk Region and the Komi Republic. Tele2’s subscriber base in Russia exceeded 6 million people.
Tele2 launched a GSM-network in Voronezh Region and bought a cellular operator in Lipetsk. The number of subscribers exceeded 3 million people.
Tele2 launched a GSM-network in Nizhny Novgorod, Kursk, Belgorod and Chelyabinsk Regions. The company bought a cellular operator in Voronezh Region. The company’s subscriber base exceeded 1 million people.
Swedish Tele2 AB entered Russian market. Tele2 Russia, its subsidiary company, launched its first commercial GSM-network in Irkutsk, Rostov, Kemerovo, Omsk and Smolensk Regions, the Republic of Udmurtiya and the city of St. Petersburg.