Moscow court chastises 'inactive' watchdog; finds in favour of Antares Telecom

5 Mar 2013

The Moscow Arbitration Court has found the State Radio Frequency Commission (SRFC) ‘guilty of inaction’ with regards to its lack of consideration of Antares Telecom’s disputed Long Term Evolution (LTE) frequencies. Prime-Tass business news agency reports that the court has obliged the watchdog to consider Antares’ bid for an LTE licence and make a final decision within a period of no longer than five days. However, the process is far from settled: the regulator is now able to contest the decision at the Ninth Arbitration Court of Appeal.

In April 2012 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 them in early-2008, covering the period 18 April 2008 to 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. More recently, November 2012 saw the SRFC become embroiled in the situation when Antares and Rostelecom-backed SkyLink complained about alleged frequency overlap in the capital.