Russian WiMAX operator Scartel, which operates under the Yota brand name, has announced that it has entered into a voluntary agreement with national telecoms regulator Roskomnadzor to halt legal proceedings regarding the latter’s handling of certain frequencies in the 2500MHz – 2700MHz spectrum band. In July 2010 Roskomnadzor revoked Scartel’s permission to use the 20MHz-30MHz frequencies that were intended for use in its imminent Long Term Evolution (LTE) network due to a ‘violation of the law’. At the time Scartel promised to protect its interests in court, and the public prosecutor’s office upheld the telco’s claim, ruling that the award process and subsequent annulment of the licence were not transparent enough; Alexander Katulevsky, the head of Roskomnadzor, was duly placed under investigation.
According to the terms of a voluntary agreement approved by the Ninth Appellate Court in Moscow on 11 April 2011, both parties have acknowledged that the reason for Roskomnadzor’s July order was the result of ‘some previous violations of its internal radio frequency allocation procedure’. Going forward, Yota is allowed to re-file its licence application with the regulator – accompanied by an Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) appraisal report – within seven calendar days of the voluntary agreement. Roskomnadzor has agreed to process the new application and make a decision based on the results of the EMC report. In turn, Yota will withdraw its petition to nullify the watchdog’s order, which was lodged with the Moscow City Commercial Court on 2 August 2010.
TeleGeography notes that the cessation of hostilities follows Scartel’s March 2011 agreement with Russia’s so-called ‘big three’ cellcos Vimpelcom, MegaFon and Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) – and the country’s sole LTE-licensee Rostelecom – to facilitate the rollout of a combined national LTE network by 2014. Scartel will act as the operators’ 4G network provider of choice, and the telcos will buy wholesale capacity from it and lease its LTE facilities, rather than rolling out separate infrastructure. The deal, which was brokered by Prime Minister Putin, put an end to months of controversy involving Ministry of Defence-backed start-up company Osnova Telekom and its ongoing challenge for Rostelecom’s frequencies.