According to unconfirmed local press reports, Russian Long Term Evolution (LTE) licensees MegaFon, Vimpelcom, Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) and Rostelecom have concluded a joint investigation into the current distribution of the 4G-suitable spectrum that they have been promised following July 2012’s tender. The 800MHz lower band frequencies – spanning the 791MHz-862MHz range – are still occupied by the Russian military, while the 2.5GHz-2.7GHz spectrum is presently allocated to an unspecified number of WiMAX operators covering 390 separate regions, and a total of 38 Multichannel Multipoint Distribution Service (MMDS) operators; MMDS, also known as wireless cable, is often used for general-purpose broadband networking or, more commonly, as an alternative method of cable television programming reception in rural areas.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, each of the four companies is obliged offer 4G technology in all towns with at least 50,000 residents by 2019. The interim year-by-year rollout schedule is as follows: six regions by end-2013; twelve regions by end-2014; 20 regions by end-2015; 30 by end-2016; 50 by end-2017 and 60 regions by the end of 2018. Likewise, each operator must invest at least RUB15 billion (USD458 million) in its network deployment on an annual basis until its rollout is complete.