The president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, has signed a decree to implement a set of urgent measures to convert radio frequencies from military ownership for 3G/4G commercial mobile usage purposes, with a deadline for the conversion set at 15 August 2014, reports ProIT. Decree 613/2014’"On ensuring conditions for the introduction of modern telecommunications technology’ also stated that the Defence Ministry, State Special Communication Service, the General Staff of the Armed Forces and telecoms regulator NCCIR must collaborate to implement the necessary measures for the conversion, with a view to launching a tender for 3G (2100MHz) licences by 30 October 2014.
Andrey Osadchuk, director of regulatory and legal support at Ukraine’s largest cellco by users, Kyivstar, commented on the decree: ‘We understand that the Ministry of Defence needed funds for the conversion, and we are ready to pay … this amount will be included in the total cost of the licence. The cost of a licence should be transparent and uniform for all operators. Also, we believe that operators can immediately pay the cost of the licence, which has to be included in the cost of conversion of radio frequencies, and do not [need to] stretch the payments over several years.’ Kyivstar calculates that the total cost of a 3G licence, including the cost of spectrum conversion, should not exceed UAH1 billion (USD83.8 million).
The presidential decree also urged that the short-term tendering of 3G licences – aiming for an immediate launch of services to follow – should be accompanied by the introduction of technological neutrality in licensing, as well as a policy decision on allowing the launch of 4G LTE technology. Kyivstar’s Osadchuk supported this policy, saying: ‘Today, the majority of equipment telecom networks can simultaneously provide services to various standards and technologies. Ukraine has a unique chance to launch 3G and 4G services immediately. This is possible [via] the competition for the frequency range of 2100MHz and the simultaneous introduction of the principle of technological neutrality. This will ensure the rapid development of new generation [services] in Ukraine.’