Finnish vendor Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) has been selected by mobile operator Tele2 Russia to supply equipment to test its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network, RBC Daily reports. Tele2 has set aside a 5MHz block of spectrum in the 1800MHz band for the tests, which will also feature modems from ZTE and Huawei. Christine Tikhonov, CEO of NSN’s Russian operations, told the business journal: ‘This equipment [Flexi Multiradio base stations] supports a high capacity mobile broadband network and provides a smooth transition from GSM to LTE. Support for the various technologies implemented in our platform will enable Tele2 to effectively use existing resources in the 1800MHz frequency range, which is currently used to provide services to GSM. This will allow Tele2 to increase network capacity and meet demand for more high speed data services’.
In October 2011 Tele2 signposted its intention to conduct an independent trial of LTE technology in the 1800MHz band, and applied to the State Radio Frequency Commission (SRFC) for permission to run tests in Pskov and Omsk. Tele2, which first declared its interest in rolling out a 4G network in Russia in November 2010, cited its Swedish parent company’s prior experience rolling out LTE networks elsewhere in Europe. In August 2011, frustrated at the lack of progress, Tele2 conducted an independent study into the dual use of wireless frequencies in the 1800MHz band for both GSM and LTE services. After extensive research by equipment vendors Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) it was established that fourth generation services could theoretically be operated in the 1800MHz band without any discernible detriment to the quality of Tele2’s existing GSM operations; Tele2 Russia CEO Dmitry Strashnov submitted a copy of the study to the SRFC, but Shchyogolev reportedly denied receipt of any such document. This time around, Strashnov says that Tele2 hopes to enlist a number of government institutions to participate in the tests, which ‘should enable the SRFC to consider the results on a par with the research consortium’.