Russian mobile giant Vimpelcom (Beeline) has confirmed that it has introduced 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) connectivity to the city of Kaliningrad, on the Baltic coast. CEO Mikhail Slobodin told the Prime business news agency that the cellco will offer coverage to around 80% of the city at launch. Although the rollout is said to satisfy the coverage obligations associated with Vimpelcom’s LTE licence, the chief executive noted that: ‘The dynamics of investment will depend on the level of the consumption of this service’, indicating that heavy 4G use could see the network extended locally.
Going forward, Slobodin confirmed that Vimpelcom plans to launch LTE networks in the lucrative markets of Moscow and St Petersburg on 1 December 2013 and 1 March 2014, respectively. Further, by the end of 2014 Vimpelcom’s ZTE-built LTE networks will comprise around 12,000 base transceiver stations (BTS), and by the end of 2015 the company plans to cover approximately 55% of Russia’s population.