Russian WiMAX operator Prestige Internet, which trades under the ‘Enforta’ brand name, has confirmed that it has agreed to release frequencies in the 2530MHz-2570MHz and 2650MHz-2690MHz bands in 102 cities, with a view to the spectrum being refarmed for Long Term Evolution (LTE) use by 4G licensees Rostelecom, Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), MegaFon and Beeline. Enforta must relinquish the spectrum within a 45-day time-frame. All cities affected by the switch-off have a population of between 50,000 and 100,000 people, and it currently remains unclear whether or not Enforta will be issued replacement spectrum, and if so which band will be used going forward.
TeleGeography notes that the development is likely to come as a boost to the aforementioned LTE licensees; in April 2013 the four companies concluded a joint investigation into the current distribution of the 4G-suitable spectrum that they were promised following July 2012’s tender. At that date, the 800MHz lower band frequencies – spanning the 791MHz-862MHz range – were still fully occupied by the Russian military, while the 2.5GHz-2.7GHz spectrum was 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.