Russia round-up: Vimpelcom tests VoLTE, HD video; MTS secures RUB50bn credit line; TTK increases telecoms capacity in Engels; Rostelecom starts large-scale fibre project

28 Oct 2014

Russian mobile operator Vimpelcom (Beeline) has implemented voice-over-Long Term Evolution (VoLTE) and high-definition (HD) video tests on its fourth-generation network. According to ComNews, the trials are taking place in Moscow using equipment supplied by Huawei of China. In a statement, Vimpelcom said: ‘The main advantage of the new technology is [the delivery of] simultaneous voice and high-quality images with a minimum resolution of VGA (640×480), rising to 720dpi and even 1080dpi. Another advantage of the technology is its ability to establish a very fast connection – less than one second.’ The operator plans to launch VoLTE and HD video commercially as and when devices become widely available to support it.

Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) has secured a RUB50 billion (USD1.19 billion) credit line with the Russian bank Sberbank, to help fund the construction of its LTE network and provide for general ‘corporate purposes’, including the refinancing of loans due in 2015-2016. The non-revolving line of credit matures in September 2021. This is not the first loan that MTS has taken this year. In March, it agreed a USD300 million loan with Citibank and Swedish Export Credit Corporation to purchase equipment from Ericsson for the rollout of LTE networks in the Volga, Siberia, the Urals, the South and the North-West Federal District.

Fixed line operator TransTeleCom (TTK), which is owned by the state’s Russian Railways division, has reported a 1.5-fold increase in fixed telecoms capacity at its TTC-Volga regional company in Engels, Saratov Oblast. Having launched services in Engels in 2010, TTK now provides a full range of telephony services over its own digital communication infrastructure covering 46,700 households, or 65% of the total in the city.

National operator Rostelecom has implemented a large-scale fibre-optic project in the Sakhalin region, aimed at upgrading old copper wire lines with fibre at apartment buildings and homes in the region. The operator intends to provide 100% coverage of buildings with three or more storeys, providing them with internet speeds of up to 100Mbps. At the start of this year the operator said it had built out 24,000 Metro Ethernet ports in Sakhalin, a figure it says will rise to 33,000 by the year-end. Fibre-optic connectivity is already available in nine cities in the region, namely: Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk (including planning districts Meadow and Novoaleksandrovsk), Aniwa, Kholmsk Nevelsky Dolinsk, Korsakov, Poronaisk, Nogliki and Okha.

Russia, Beeline (Russia), Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), Rostelecom, TransTeleCom (TTK)