An unnamed source in the MTS’s office told “Vedomosti” that the company talked to Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Vodafone. Virgin Group refused to cooperate with Russian MTS, so probably MTS will change its signboards in Ukraine to Vodafone signs. They hope that the after rebranding the connection between "MTS Ukraine" and Russian MTS will be less obvious.
“MTS Ukraine” had been losing the clients during the last year. In March there were 21.7 mln, and in the end of December - 20.2 mln users. The market share of “MTS Ukraine” decreased from 37 to 34%. The company links it with the annexation of Crimea by Russia and the difficult situation in the east of Ukraine. MTS lost 1.3 mln subscribers last year, and about 1 mln of them are Crimean; other losses are caused by perception of the brand, experts say.
MTS has changed ownership scheme in order to distance Ukrainian business from Russia. Previously “MTS Ukraine” directly belonged to the MTS company, and now it is subsidiated through Dutch Preludium B.V. and Luxembourg Allegretto Holding. The reorganization of MTS explains the need to expand investment opportunities of "MTS Ukraine". Rebranding is seen as a real alternative to reduce stake in Ukrainian subsidiary, assumed the unnamed source.