The decline in MTSís triple-play customer base continued in the first quarter, with the Russian company ending March with 6,766,000 subscribers.

This compared to 7,062,000 three months earlier and 7,426,000 in the same period last year.

On the other hand, the number of homes passed increased Ė 12,526,000 as of the end of Q1, compared to 12,541,000 and 12,347,000 three and 12 months earlier respectively.

So, too, did residential ARPU, which as of Q1 stood at R362 (Ä6.52), up from R319 a year earlier.

The company notes that the growth in ARPU is attributable to the rising share of double and triple play customers; the continued migration of pay-TV subscribers to MTSís digital TV platform; upselling broadband subscribers through modernisation of fixed-line networks in the regions; and the migration of ADSL customers in Moscow to GPON.

It adds that the reduction in the residential subscriber base reflects the migration of pay-TV subscribers from analogue to digital, resulting in the defection of lower value, including social package subscribers.

Meanwhile, MTSís MGTS is seeing the results of a R50 billion investment project to replace ADSL networks with GPON.

It now offers broadband access at up to 500 Mbps and 190 TV channels, including 24 in HD, as well as VOD over IPTV.

It ended the first quarter with 700,000 broadband/pay-TV subscribers.