OREANDA-NEWS. Sberbank and MaximaTelecom, the operator of Russia’s largest public transport Wi-Fi network, entered into a bilateral strategic partnership agreement. The document was signed by Senior Vice President of Sberbank Anatoly Popov and Chairman of the Board of Directors of MaximaTelecom Sergey Aslanyan.

The agreement envisages Sberbank providing a loan of around 800 million roubles to MaximaTelecom NW LLC (a MaximaTelecom JSC subsidiary), which will be used to set up a free-of-charge Wi-Fi network on the Saint Petersburg Metro. Total investment in the project amounts to approximately 1.3 billion roubles. The project is being carried out solely with own and borrowed capital, and with no use of public funding.

“We are very pleased to participate in this landmark project to develop Saint Petersburg’s digital infrastructure, and are ready continue working together with MaximaTelecom,” commented Anatoly Popov.

MaximaTelecom is developing a platform that commercialises its own and partners’ public Wi-Fi networks. More than 80% of Muscovites regularly use free Wi-Fi on the Moscow Metro. Two days before this agreement with Sberbank was signed, MaximaTelecom launched the first segment of the free-of-charge MT_FREE Wi-Fi network on the Saint Petersburg Metro. By doing it has begun the creation of a single Wi-Fi space for Russia’s two largest cities.

This strategic cooperation will help MaximaTelecom bring its high-speed Wi-Fi network to every line of the Saint Petersburg Metro by late 2017. Passengers will be able to connect to the network for free. The project will be monetised through mobile advertising and provision of additional services for users and partners.

“After successfully carrying out the globally unique project to add a free Wi-Fi network to the Moscow Metro, we have launched the first segment of our high-speed network on the Saint Petersburg Metro. We are delighted that such a reliable partner as Sberbank is supporting us in this ambitious project. Financing will help MaximaTelecom to expand and enhance the unified Wi-Fi network of Russia’s two capitals,” commented Sergey Aslanyan.