Long Term Evolution (LTE) equipment jointly developed and manufactured by Finland’s Nokia Siemens Network (NSN) and Micran, a company based in Tomsk, Siberia is not considered ‘Russian-made’, according to local lawmakers, providing a significant stumbling block for Chechnya-based Vainakh Telecom in its bid to deploy 4G technology. In January 2013 it was reported that Russian telecoms regulator Roskomnadzor was set to take action against Vainakh after the cellco launched commercial LTE services in Grozny, the capital city of the Chechen Republic. However, the launch reportedly used equipment that had not been certified in Russia, and now it has emerged that an inter-departmental expert council affiliated to the Industry and Trade Ministry has backed up this assertion.
The LTE base stations were developed by the Wireless Technology Centre, a 25/75 joint venture between Micran and NSN; to be considered Russian-made and cleared for use in Russian telecoms infrastructure, any given piece of equipment must be produced by a company at least 50% owned by Russian nationals. In a bid to side-step the ruling, business daily Vedomosti has reported that domestic nanotech giant Rusnano is considering a deal to buy out 25% of NSN’s stake, although nothing concrete has been confirmed. Until such time, Vainakh is only permitted to use its LTE network for ‘non-commercial purposes’.