Ukrainian High Technologies to expand WiMAX network

11 Sep 2006

Ukrainian High Technologies (UHT) has announced a plan to extend its WiMAX network to four additional cities by the end of the year, according to Prime-Tass quoting a company statement. Under the plan UHT will roll out wireless broadband services in Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Odessa and Lviv. Its WiMAX operations were launched in Kyiv and Kharkiv under the Alternet brand name in November 2005, and the following February it revealed a four-year strategy to invest between USD60 million and USD80 million in WiMAX.

UHT’s WiMAX programme has been slowed down by regulatory problems. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, Ukraine’s former regulator, the State Communications Committee (SCC) awarded 300MHz of capacity in the 3.4GHz-3.7GHz band to UHT for UAH586,000 (USD116,000) without holding a tender, which led its successor, the National Commission on Communications Regulation (NCCR), to suspend the concession in December 2005, although a court subsequently reinstated the company’s rights to the frequencies. The NCCR argued that a 40MHz allocation would be sufficient for UHT’s operations and that millions of US dollars of state funds could be generated if it were allowed to hold another tender for a portion of the spectrum. In June 2006 UHT and the regulator reached a compromise and cut the frequency allocation down to 200MHz. Russian Technologies, a venture fund incorporated by Alfa Group, owns 40% of UHT, Intel Capital has a 20% stake, and the remaining 40% is held by individual investors; the firm was previously run by Ukraine TV.