Russia’s MTS will launch its satellite TV platform before the end of the year.

Quoting sources at MTS and its controlling company AFK Sistema, Kommersant reports that the service, distributed by ABS-2, covering 95% of the country, will offer 160 channels, 30 of which will be in HD, and cost R1,200 (€20.8) a year to receive.

It will aim to become the second leading DTH platform in Russia after Tricolor TV within three years, investing R5 billion in the process.

MTS secured a licence to operate a satellite TV service this September.

It is already the third leading pay-TV player in Russia, with 2.7 million cable and IPTV subscribers. However, the take-up of new customers has slowed recently.

Industry sources believe the greatest potential for the new DTH platform, in securing subscribers, will lie in remote regions of the far east of Russia.

Earlier this year, MTS abandoned plans to buy the DTH platform Raduga TV, which is backed by Modern Times Group (MTG), despite having won the backing of the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS).