Russia’s fastest growing DTH platform Orion Express is stealing a march on its rivals by offering a three-year subscription free of charge to new customers.

According to Vedomosti, those who sign up to its ‘Telekarta’ service between August 19 and September 30 are being offered the ‘Standard’ package for free for three years, with an extension to five years costing a one-off R500 (€10.2).

The normal cost to Telekarta customers is R880 a year.

Orion Express currently has 2.25 million subscribers in a pay-TV market that is dominated by Tricolor TV and close to saturation.

One industry source believes Orion Express has the potential to secure an additional 1.2 million subscribers, while another says the platform may be seeking to grow its subscriber base ahead of a possible sale.