Opera strikes a deal with MegaFon for Russian expansion

Opera Software has struck a deal with Russia’s federal mobile operator OJSC MegaFon under which MegaFon’s special package “Unlimited Internet with Opera Mini” will be distributed to all Russian territories.

That may not sound like much at first glance, but you have to consider that MegaFon boasts over 53 million mobile subscribers, spanning all seven Federal Districts of Russia.

Furthermore, MegaFon serves some 39 percent of all mobile Web traffic in Russian territories, according to recent research (it was first in Russia to run a 3G network based on UMTS). The operator says internal statistics have shown that Opera Mini subscribers effectively generate twice the traffic than any other MegaFon user.

In September 2009, MegaFon had already gone to bed with the Norwegian software maker, choosing Opera Mini as the means to provide unlimited mobile Web access in the Moscow region for 7 rubles (roughly 0.18 EUR / 0.15 GPB) per day. Users apparently loved it, persuading the carrier to provide this package in all Russian regions in their coverage area, starting with Ural and Siberia.

The remaining regions will gain access as from this month, which Opera hopes will cause a spike in new users and enable it to strengthen its foothold in Russia.

Opera says Opera Mini remains the most popular browser for handsets in Russia, with the highest market share, although the company declined to provide detailed statistics.