Russia’s General Radio Frequency Centre (GosSviazNadzor) has issued temporary operating concessions to mobile group Skylink for the launch of trial and commercial 3G services in the 1.9GHz and 2.1GHz frequencies, according to Prime-Tass. GosSviazNadzor issued the licences to Delta Telecom, Skylink’s operator in St Petersburg and Leningrad, and Moscow Cellular Communications (MCC), its business in the capital and surrounding area. According to the Vedomosti business daily, Skylink must provide a report on its test communications with the spectrum in twelve months, the results of which will be used to set the terms and conditions of the auction of further 3G frequencies.
The situation regarding 3G licensing in Russia is a convoluted one. In June 2004 the information and communications minister Leonid Reiman said that the government would begin issuing licences in early 2005 and that it planned to tender for no more than four concessions, although this did not happen and the question of whether to award four national concessions, or three national and seven regional licences (corresponding to the territories of Russia’s seven Federal Districts) remains still unresolved. Other than Skylink, Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), Vimpelcom and Megafon are all believed to have conducted tests of 3G services, though none have yet received frequency from GosSviazNadzor. The state claims that it has not received 3G licence applications from any cellco other than Skylink, though Vimpelcom says it submitted three applications for trial and commercial 3G concessions in June this year.