Russian WiMAX operator Scartel (Yota), which received regulatory approval from telecoms regulator Roskomnadzor to abandon WiMAX for Long Term Evolution (LTE) in July 2010, has indicated that it plans to initiate its new network in Moscow on 15 April, with general director Denis Sverdlov quoted as saying: ‘There will be no test regime, it will be turned online on the night of 14-15 April. By September 2012 Yota will connect LTE in all of Russia’s cities, as required by the government radio frequencies commission’. Yota, which previously trialled its emergent LTE network in Novosibirsk in December 2011, had been expected to postpone the Moscow launch until September 2012 after struggling with network upgrades, but it now appears that the launch will go ahead as planned.
In related news, mobile giant MegaFon has reportedly confirmed its intention to launch LTE services in Moscow in the first half of 2012, piggybacking on Yota’s aforementioned network. The unconfirmed press reports follow on from November’s official announcement that MegaFon had signed an agreement with Yota to utilise each other’s network infrastructure as they build out their respective 4G networks. The reports, which have been widely circulated in the Russian press, suggest that the duo are currently in the midst of establishing a cooperation model based on a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) template for use in Moscow.