Belarusian mobile network operator BelCel, which is currently offering CDMA2000 services under the trademark Diallog, plans to transform itself into a 4G provider by launching over a Long Term Evolution (LTE) 450MHz network, its director Sergei Shinkareva has told IT.TUT.BY. The local market is currently dominated by three GSM providers but fourth operator BelCel says it is still in operation and has a small but loyal subscriber base who are ‘satisfied’ with its rates. Further, the cellco plans to use the upcoming Ice Hockey World Championship in 2014 in Belarus as a platform to revitalise its fortunes in the country, he said. Foreign visitors will be able to purchase SIM card supporting both CDMA2000 and GSM technology and will be offered a special tariff for the duration of the games.
However, Shinkareva concedes there are limitations to CDMA when faced with widespread competition from more popular GSM variants, and to that end is currently considering testing 4G LTE in the 450MHz band in Bobruisk and Zhlobin. and may also strike a partnership with 4G start-up Belarusian Cloud Technologies (beCloud), which earlier this year launched a 4G test zone for LTE-Advanced technology in the capital Minsk using a network of four base transceiver stations supplied by Huawei.