According to an unconfirmed report from RBC Daily, Russian WiMAX-turned-LTE provider Scartel (Yota), has held talks with several interested parties concerning the sale of its Belarusian unit, Yota Bel. If completed, the divestment would allow Scartel to focus on the development of its networks and services in its home market, the report read. It is understood Russian powerhouses Rostelecom and MTS have been linked with a possible bid for Yota Bel.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in December last year Yota Bel said it was looking to develop LTE networks in major regional centres across Belarus. On 1 December it launched its new LTE network in the capital Minsk and in Grodno, covering the central districts of these two cities and, according to Yota vice president Egor Ivanov, has since begun the construction of further 4G networks in Mogilev, Brest and Gomel. Yota Bel has invested ‘millions of dollars’ in the project and is looking to reach a break-even point within its first year of operation. The broadband start-up holds 2×30MHz blocks of frequency in the 2.5GHz-2.6GHz bands to deploy its data transmission networks. The Belarus State Commission on Radio Frequencies issued Yota Bel with a licence to use the spectrum in December 2008. Having originally intended to use the WiMAX equipment (standard IEEE 802.16e-2005) produced by Samsung, in 2010 Yota Bel announced it was switching to the rival LTE technology.