‘Big three’ cellcos demand transparency in 4G frequency allocation

9 Jul 2010

Russia’s three largest mobile operators by subscribers have asked the Ministry of Communications (MinSvyaz) to ban the non-competitive distribution of next-generation Long Term Evolution (LTE) frequencies to companies intending to acquire them for onward sale, reports Kommersant. The Russian daily quotes a letter signed by MTS President Mikhail Shamolin, MegaFon CEO Sergei Soldatenkov and VimpelCom head Yelena Shmatova, which said that they had information on ‘a number of initiatives to distribute LTE frequencies to smaller companies’, which they say will lead to negative consequences for their users, their companies and the State as a whole.

The letter goes on to warn that if the small companies decide to build 4G networks, it would take much longer than the top three cellcos. They estimate that creating a 4G federal communications network from scratch could cost as much as RUB216.30 billion (USD7 billion), and take up to seven years, severely undermining future investment opportunities.