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For the period, Group revenue increased 2.1% year-over-year to RUB 114.6 bln as a sustained improvement in business and consumer sentiment has allowed us to monetize the strong growth in voice and data usage in Russia, despite a slight year-over-year decline in subscribers.We saw a positive contribution from our Ukraine subsidiary, where growth is also fueled by increased data adoption.BUSINESS OPERATIONS" data-reactid="27"MERGERS & ACQUISITIONSMTS acquired a 50.82% stake in the Russian retail software developer Oblachny Retail LLC, operating under its trademark name Lite Box, for RUB 620 mln, including the repayment of a RUB 30 mln loan, RUB 420 mln of investments in business development, as well as a payment of RUB 170 mln to the founders.
KEY CORPORATE DEVELOPMENTS" data-reactid="20"Given our strong 9M performance, we feel we can amend our guidance to reflect our improving market position.
Our strong growth in profitability derives from increased usage of higher-value data products in Russia, including increased international roaming activity, in addition to our efforts to optimize retail operations.
For the period, we realized gains from both a small reduction in retail outlets, dating from the beginning of the year, as well as a slight reduction in SIM-card sales.
The lowest spam figures were recorded at 73.1% on 28 January, while the high for the first quarter was seen on 1 March when spam reached 97.8% of all mail traffic.
Andrei Dubovskov, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented on the results:"We are pleased to report another strong set of results for MTS.Since the beginning of this year, the share of graphical spam in unsolicited correspondence has been increasing; it reached 28% in the first quarter of 2008.In late 2007, graphical spam accounted for just 14% of spam email, and graphical spammer was expected to become more common in 2008.The cooperation will allow MTS to enrich its existing financial services portfolio with contemporary investment products and creates an opportunity to draw assets from a wide range of investors to participate in equity and debt capital markets.