Regulator allows CDMA spectrum licence alterations to support advanced mobile development

29 Oct 2012

Ukraine’s telecoms watchdog, the National Commission for the State Regulation of Communications and Informatization (NCCIR or NKRZI) has permitted a number of CDMA 800MHz wireless network operating licence holders to refarm their respective frequency allocations across various regions to enable them to more easily offer nationwide services, and to assist in the development of future advanced services in the spectrum band. The NCCIR indicated in a statement that in its meeting of 25 October 2012, permission for the redistribution of frequency resources was granted to Astelit (life:)), Intertelecom, ITC (CDMA Ukraine) – including its wholly owned subsidiary Velton Telecom – and small operator Ukrainian Wave (which is 23.6% owned by incumbent Ukrtelecom), via ‘re-designing’ a number of licences for digital cellular radio standard CDMA-800 (including legacy cellular radio IS-95 CDMA concessions) ‘in several regions of Ukraine’. The action allows the CDMA licensees to collaborate to gain the optimum spectral distribution for mobile CDMA expansion, in terms of both geographical reach and capacity, and also the proposed rollout of 4G LTE services in the 800MHz band, although the latter would require the regulator to adopt a technology-neutral licensing regime. Astelit – a GSM-based nationwide mobile operator – was recently issued with CDMA licences covering twelve cities to replace legacy 800MHz concessions, and it reportedly plans to roll out national high speed mobile broadband services using its new licences, further facilitated by the NCCIR’s most recent decision allowing CDMA players to collude on refarming their regionally-issued spectrum resources; reports said that Astelit has agreed to spectrum trade with existing CDMA operators expanding its own 800MHz footprint by 15 regions to a full 27-region complement. Both Intertelecom and CDMA Ukraine (CDMA UA) have been considering plans to roll out 4G services using their 800MHz frequencies, and TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that in August 2012 the two CDMA players signed an agreement on joint sales of services, based on commission fees, although the duo will remain totally independent operations for the time being.