08.04 Europe/London, August 12, 2011 By Chris Dziadul

Russian Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov has signed off a timetable for the reform of Svyazinvest, the country’s largest telecom operator.

Kommersant reports that according to the timetable, a decision on a possible merger between Svyazinvest and Rostelecom will be made in March or April 2012 and that the latter’s privatisation will take place by September 2013.

At present, Svyazinvest holds a 43% stake in Rostelecom, which encompasses six regional incumbent telcos and Dagsvyazinform and is an important player in Russia’s pay-TV sector, with 900,000 subscribers as of the end of last year.

Rostelecom’s development strategy envisages its market share in the pay-TV sector increasing by 30% between 2011-15.