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© RIA Novosti. Aleksey Nikolskyi

No mobile troubles at New Year and a first Russian smartphone

by Evgeniya Chaykovskaya at 29/12/2010 18:04

 

Russia’s big three mobile network operators MTS, Megafon and Vympelkom (Beeline brand) promise smooth connection at a trouble-free New Year.

As well-wishers and loved ones bombard the airwaves with messages of good cheer, a great deal can get caught in the ether, taking the shine of an otherwise unifying festival.

Operators ready for increased traffic

But MTS have announced that their equipment is prepared for increased pressure and changed the network capacity in popular zones, the company’s press-secretary Irina Osadchaya told RIA Novosti.

Beeline also upped the volume of its SMS centre and installed the latest software to cope with increased demand and increased traffic on international calls, their press-release said.

Megafon likewise said they were ready for the holidays and promised that the blocked up airwaves the companies have experienced over the last few years are a thing of the past.

However, Megafon also warns that there may be problems calling abroad or to other Russian cities between 1.00 pm Dec. 31 and 10 am Jan 1. Glitches are most likely to crop up in places where many people are calling at the same time, like city squares.

Russian iPhone 4

More good news for New Year come from AFK Sistema, whose chief Vladimir Yevtushenkov showed Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin the country’s first smartphone, RIA Novosti reported.

The handset with double GPS and Glonass navigation will cost about 11,000 roubles and will hit the shelves on March 1, 2011, though mass production won’t start until the second half of the year.

Yevtushenkov said the phone mirrors iPhone 4, but has the edge over the cult Apple smartphone - double navigation system, which is 93 per cent accurate, as opposed to GPS’s 64 per cent.

Prime-minister Putin suggested that the start of sales should be tied to Women’s Day on March, 8, adding that “women will be able to correctly identify where their husbands are.”

AFK Sistema said the phone would be a joint enterprise of its Sitronics branch and Qualcomm and ZTE companies.

Experts cautious

Experts, however, are less than thrilled with the new phone. “The truth in this statement is that it is the first phone with GLONASS, the lie is that it mirrors iPhone 4,” Eldar Murtazin, leading analyst at the Mobile Research Group, wrote in his blog.

 

The expert was also surprised that the sales would start half a year before mass production commenced, saying that it meant only phones “for friends” will be sold in March.

He also noted that the phone will be manufactured in China and use Google’s Android Operational System, leaving only the instructions and boxes to be manufactured in Russia.

 

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