PEOPLEnet leaves Crimea due to unusable frequencies; Intertelecom to follow?

20 May 2014

Ukrainian news site Capital.ua reports that nationwide CDMA mobile network operator Telesystems of Ukraine (PEOPLEnet) has been forced to shut down its operations in the breakaway region of Crimea since the peninsula joined up with Russia, because the 800MHz frequencies PEOPLEnet uses for its CDMA2000 1xEV-DO Rev A-based mobile services are reserved in Russian territory for military and aviation usage. The operator’s CEO Michael Paikin said that the company has no choice but to deactivate approximately 100,000 Crimean users (of a total of around 950,000 PEOPLEnet subscribers), adding that the only way to continue to operate in the region would be to migrate to a completely new technology platform, which is out of the question due to costs.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database shows that PEOPLEnet has tried and failed to gain access to other frequency bands, its backers Vadim Shulman and the Privat Group having repeatedly lobbied for a 1900MHz allocation, but in November 2012 Ukrainian regulator the NCCIR snubbed the CDMA operator by instead issuing the up-for-grabs 1900MHz-1920MHz and 1980MHz-2000MHz bands to another investor, First Investment Alliance, and PEOPLEnet’s subsequent court appeal against the decision was rejected.

GlobalComms adds that PEOPLEnet’s larger nationwide CDMA-800 network operating rival, Intertelecom, is also present in Crimea, and will presumably also have to cease its 800MHz-based CDMA2000 voice and EV-DO Rev A/Rev B data services there.

Russia, Ukraine, Intertelecom (incl. Velton), Telesystems of Ukraine (PEOPLEnet)