Russia round-up: MegaFon extends LTE-A to St Petersburg; Vimpelcom follows suit in Moscow; Roskomnadzor confirms 4G rollout progress

4 Sep 2014

Russian mobile giant MegaFon has confirmed that it has launched Long Term Evolution-Advanced (LTE-A) technology, in a second city, namely St Petersburg, with downlink transmission speeds of up to 300Mbps now available. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in February this year the cellco switched on its inaugural LTE-A network inside Moscow’s Garden Ring.

In related news, rival operator Vimpelcom has reportedly followed in MegaFon’s footsteps, by deploying its own competing LTE-A infrastructure inside Moscow’s Garden Ring. Regional director Sergey Rubtsov revealed the news last week, noting that the first handset capable of supporting the upgrade will be the Samsung Galaxy Alpha, which will be made available in local retail branches from 18 September.

Finally, in the first six months 2014, the number of LTE base stations in Russia increased 74%, industry watchdog Roskomnadzor has revealed. According to the regulator, the number of LTE base stations in operation increased from 12,364 on 31 December 2014, to 21,573 on 30 June. MegaFon remains in pole position in terms of deployments, with 10,302 base stations installed – almost as many as chief rivals Mobile TeleSystems (MTS, 7,500) and Vimpelcom (3,456) combined.