Belarusian Telecommunications Network (BeST), which trades under the banner life:), signed up its one millionth user on 28 December 2009, and reported a fourfold increase in customers over the year to give it around 11% of the overall market by the start of 2010. e-belarus.org also notes that the operator has amassed more than 100,000 3G users to its network in the first few months of operations. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, on 3 November 2009, life:) launched the country’s first 3G network offering high speed internet connectivity at downlink speeds of up to 7.2Mbps and providing new services such as videocalling. The operator, which is 80%-owned by Turkish telecoms company Turkcell, with the remaining 20% in the hands of the Republic of Belarus, said that its 3G/3.5G network was available to residents in the capital Minsk and other major cities at launch.
Going forward, life:) plans to capture a 70% share of the Belarusian 3G market, or around 350,000 users, and to double its overall user base to two million. To help achieve this goal the cellco has commissioned 1,100 cell sites where currently 2,500 base stations are deployed and plans to extend cell site coverage to 1,900 locations covering all significant roads in the Republic in 2010. At the start of this year the life:) network covered 99.2% of the population and 85.3% of Belarusian territory; in 2010 it plans to achieve 99.8% and 93.0% respectively.