According to an unconfirmed report by Kommersant, would-be Russian Long Term Evolution (LTE) operator Antares Telecom has disclosed plans to officially merge its operations with those of mobile TV operator Dominanta. In January this year the Russian media reported that local businessman Yevgeny Roitman had acquired a 75% stake in Dominanta, Vimpelcom’s ill-fated DVB-H mobile TV unit, which saw its progress derailed by regulatory red-tape. At the time, Roitman expressed his intention to use the frequencies to supplement an LTE network currently being built by Antares, although it was not disclosed what position or interest he actually held within the company. This week’s report indicates that the enigmatic Roitman owns Antares, contradicting previous Russian speculation that the company is owned by either Russian engineering giant E4 Group or British Virgin Islands-registered Wagner Asset Management.
Dominanta reportedly has 36 functional base stations utilising the 510MHz-518MHz band, which Roitman believes can support Antares’ in-deployment 4G network. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, last month the Federal Supervision Agency IT, Communications & Media (Roskomnadzor) granted the telco permission to use its long-held frequencies in the 1900MHz-1920MHz spectrum band to deploy a network based on LTE technology. The frequencies are held by the Russian firm and its regional subsidiaries Arktur and Integral, and were originally handed to the companies in early-2008, covering the period between 18 April 2008 and 18 April 2013. Previously, in March 2012, the watchdog reacted angrily to reports that Antares was set to embark on an LTE trial in Moscow, refuting suggestions that the company was in possession of the necessary permissions.