Russian round-up: MOTIV finishes national 4G network tests; MTS test CA functionality; MegaFon offers LTE roaming for Czech travellers; Rostelecom sets sights on Bashkiria consolidation

11 Nov 2014

The mobile operator MOTIV (Ekaterinburg-2000) has announced the successful completion of ‘national’ 4G network tests in all regions of operations. In a press release, the cellco said that by the end of September a number of users had signed up to its ‘People Test Drive’ 4G trials – offered under the MOTIV banner – in Kurgan, Shadrinsk, Surgut and Salekhard, Labytnangi, with Nizhny Tagil, Yekaterinburg and satellite towns being added so far in November. In total, the tests involved more than 13,000 triallists. MOTIV aims to ensure that its 4G mobile network is available in more than three million residents of the Sverdlovsk and Kurgan regions and in Ugra and Yamal – which is 41% of the licensed territory – by the end of 2015.

ComNews writes that Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) has tested the functionality of carrier aggregation (CA) technology in the 1800MHz and 2600MHz bands in Primorsky territory, resulted in a 1.5-fold increase in average Long Term Evolution (LTE) network speed. The tests, which used equipment supplied by China’s Huawei, utilised a total bandwidth of 15MHz on the cellco’s commercial LTE network. Olga Ustinov, director of MTS in the Far East and Eastern Siberia, noted: ‘Using LTE-1800 presents MTS Russia with a number of advantages: a higher level of penetration, a larger area of coverage and the ability to use much of the existing infrastructure and equipment already deployed for GSM. These facts will allow MTS to significantly reduce the time it takes to deploy 4G in the network, optimising construction costs and, ensuring that it can roll out high speed LTE network coverage in all settlements with a population of over two thousand people.’

According to a company press release, MegaFon has switched on LTE roaming for subscribers traveling to the Czech Republic, thanks to an agreement with local mobile operator Vodafone Czech Republic. Today, MegaFon provides 4G LTE roaming in 22 countries across the world, namely: Brazil, Hong Kong, Spain, Italy, the Vatican, Canada, Korea, Singapore, USA, France, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Monaco, Austria, Belgium, Taiwan, Ireland, Portugal, Romania, Israel, Poland and the Netherlands.

Finally, the Russian telecoms group Rostelecom says that by the end of the year it hopes to have consolidated 100% of broadband internet access provider Bashinformsvyaz (or Bashkiria) into its operations, according to people familiar with the situation. Vedomosti notes that in order to do so, it will need to purchase 95% of the operator to obtain the right to buy the remaining shares. Bashkiria provides broadband internet access, television and local voice telephone services to the corporate and mass market segments, as well as leased line services to telecom operators in Bashkiria. The company has historically held a monopoly on the provision of local telephone communications in the region, with a share of 91% of subscribers in this market. Rostelecom currently owns 70.78% of ordinary shares in the smaller firm.