While much of the focus on the newly emerging middle class consumer has been thrust towards China, Russia actually boasts the highest disposable income in the BRIC. This petro-dollar fueled extra household income is nearly 30% higher than Brazil’s, almost four times larger than China’s, and 10 times that of India’s. That’s a lot of extra rubles to spend on things like cell phones and apps … and that’s good news for Mobile TeleSystems (NYSE:MBT).
With more than 100 million subscribers across the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Armenia and Belarus, MBT has been able tap into the region’s growing incomes and thirst for mobile technology. The company is the top provider in Russia, yet there’s still plenty of room for growth at the firm.
For one, many Russians actually own more than one cellular phone. Additionally, by partnering with telecom giant Vodafone (NYSE:VOD), Mobile TeleSystems has unveiled a new “bundled service” strategy where it will not only offer mobile and fixed telephony, but high-speed Internet access as well as movies and cable TV.
Shares of MBT gained around 25% in 2012 and shareholders could be in for more gains as the petro-fueled economy moves forward.