Regulator set to discuss technological neutrality on 2 October?

14 Sep 2012

Russia’s State Radio Frequency Commission (SRFC) is set to consider the introduction of technological neutrality at its next board meeting, which is scheduled for 2 October, Prime-Tass news agency reports, citing an advance copy of the meeting’s agenda. The technological neutrality principle means that operators can use their frequency resources to develop the technology of their own choosing, for example refarming existing GSM spectrum to offer 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE). The commission also plans to redefine the limits on bandwidth that can be used for any given communications standard. Deputy minister of Communications and Mass Media Denis Sverdlov previously revealed that the minimum block allowed for 3G services is likely to be set at 5MHz, with a 10MHz lower limit applied to LTE-suitable frequencies.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, recent years have seen a number of obscure companies emerge from the regulatory hinterland demanding the opportunity to utilise old frequencies for LTE purposes. These include Antares Telecom, which was handed frequencies in the 1900MHz-1920MHz spectrum band in early-2008, and caused a controversy in March this year when it embarked on an LTE trial in Moscow, using said frequencies. In June the enigmatic company caused consternation once again, when it suggested that it would merge with mobile TV operator Dominanta, which has 36 functional base stations utilising the 510MHz-518MHz band, capable of supporting its LTE network. Elsewhere, both Tele2 Russia and SMARTS Group have conducted tests to establish whether or not 1800MHz spectrum can support their desired LTE services.