Russia telecoms giant Rostelecom has announced that it has signed a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) agreement with emergent Long Term Evolution (LTE) operator Scartel, which operates under the ‘Yota’ brand name. Under the terms of the contract, testing is expected to commence in Moscow on 1 July 2012, with a commercial launch mooted for 1 September. Rostelecom has indicated that LTE services will be rolled out across other regions at a later stage. The deal gives Rostelecom access to Yota’s frequencies in the 2500MHz-2530MHz and 2620MHz-2650MHz spectrum bands. Alexander Provotorov, president of Rostelecom, commented: ‘Providing mobile and broadband services in Moscow is a key step in Rostelecom’s development. Our MVNO-model will enable Rostelecom to optimise its costs and resources when starting to provide 4G network services in the near future. We believe that LTE technology has great potential, and we are pleased to start our long-term cooperation with Yota in this field’.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in February 2012 MegaFon inked a similar MVNO deal with 4G operator Yota, which received regulatory approval from telecoms regulator Roskomnadzor to abandon WiMAX for LTE in July 2010. Last week Yota postponed its long-awaited Moscow LTE launch from 15 April until 10 May, after a spate of difficulties experienced by subscribers in replacing their WiMAX dongles with LTE devices in time for the switchover.