IT in the Russian Federation

Russia: Telecommunications Infrastructure


Physical infrastructure remains a problem for ICT advancement in Russia.  “After all the macroeconomic and political change of the past decade, the infrastructure of this country is finally being formed,” says Sergei Tarasov, head of server seller Sun Microsystems’ operations in the former Soviet Union. (26)

Rostelecom is still a strong monopoly in the long distance and international phone service market, and the waiting list for phones is extremely long at about 5 years.  Most of the local phone providers are only partially privatized under the umbrella of the state holding company, Svyazinvest.  Major investment in physical infrastructure is part of the eRussia program and most of the real investment won’t come until next year (budget permitting). (24)

Providers (24)

  • Rostelecom is the national long-distance and international provider
  • Each region has a smaller local telephone service provider
  • Major mobile providers are Beeline and Mobile Telesystems (MTS)


  • 218 telephone lines per 1000 people (25)
    • five year waiting list
  • Local calls from landlines and mobile phones are relatively low cost in comparison to GDP


  • Internet hosts per 10,000 inhabitants: 22.22 (25)
  • Internet users per host: 9.49 (25)
  • Average monthly cost for 20 hours of internet access: US$14.83 (25)


  • Only 2% of the populations has broadband access (25)
  • E-Russia program promises all cities in Russia with populations over 30,000 people be connected as part of the country’s “fiber optic backbone”


  • Cell phone usage per 1000: 140 (27)
  • At the end of 2003, Russia had more than 35 million mobile phone users (19)
  • In Moscow and St Petersburg, cell-phone use is nearly as prevalent as in New York City
  • In 2002, Russians bought 1 million wireless phones per month
  • Mobile-communications hardware is among the most in demand in Russia according to IDC
  • Russia will need over $33B in investment over the next 10 years to satisfy demand in the market (19)


  • Satellite communications is in relative high demand because of the country’s expansive territory and the poor conditions of it landline networks. (22)
  • Forecasts indicate that by 2010 capacity demand will require as many as 380 transponders (22)



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