Russian LTE round-up: Rostelecom postpones MVNO launch, MTS goes live in Moscow, Kazan boasts 4G triple-threat

5 Sep 2012

Russian national operator Rostelecom has abruptly changed its plans to offer Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) over the infrastructure of Scartel (Yota), Telecompaper reports. The telco had planned to initiate MVNO services on 1 September, only to postpone the project indefinitely following disagreements with Yota regarding the terms of the offer.

Meanwhile, Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) has announced the commercial launch of Russia’s first Time Division Duplexing (TDD)-LTE network in Moscow and 40 ‘population centres’ in the surrounding region. The network was launched on 1 September, as planned. Konstantin Markov, head of the MTS’ Moscow unit commented: ‘To further enhance connectivity and the development of the region’s economy and lifestyle, MTS will by year-end year make 4G services available in 96% of Moscow’s territory and will double the number of population centres with 4G coverage in the surrounding Moscow region’.

Elsewhere, the Kazan Herald reports that Kazan, the capital and largest city of the Republic of Tatarstan, has become the first location in Russia to witness the introduction of LTE by three separate companies. Speaking at the launch ceremony at the Kazan IT Park, Tatarstan’s minister of information and communication, Roman Shaykhutdinov, told the newspaper: ‘At the moment, Kazan is the only city in Russia where standard LTE is offered by three providers’. As is the case elsewhere in the country, the network infrastructure belongs to WiMAX-turned-LTE operator Yota, with MegaFon and MTS both offering 4G services in an MVNO capacity.

In other news, Vimpelcom has selected network specialist Ciena Corporation to upgrade and expand its national optical fibre network. Ciena’s 6500 Packet-Optical Platform, powered by ‘WaveLogic’ coherent optical processors, will be deployed in network links extending over approximately 10,700km. This includes the upgrade of the Moscow-Urals and Urals-Siberia connections as well as the southern part of the western Russia network (known as the ‘Big European Ring’), as well as the construction of a 100G network in the far east of the country. The upgraded and extended network will be commercially available by the end of the year, and a press release from Ciena reads: ‘The scalable and cost-effective core network will support the rollout of Vimpelcom’s LTE network in Russia and will be able to meet the increasing demand of its client base for mobile broadband services as well as the increasing volume of network traffic’.