Russia round-up: Tele2 launches 3G in St Petersburg; MegaFon now offering LTE-A smartphone in Moscow; MTS prepares LTE-1800 in capital; TTK completes backbone network upgrade

17 Nov 2014

Russian mobile operator T2 RTC Holding, a joint venture between Tele2 Russia and Rostelecom which uses the Tele2 Russia brand name, last Friday launched a 3G service in St Petersburg and revealed plans to become the third largest operator in the country. At a press conference last Friday, the company added that with 3G now live in the area, by the end of the year 3G services from Tele2 will also be available in Tambov, Chelyabinsk and Novosibirsk, while in 2015/16 it plans to make 3G available in most of regions where it is present. According to the firm’s Alexander Provotorova, T2 RTC Holding will undertake a three-year nationwide investment programme to build out about 80,000 3G and 4G base stations. However, the official stopped short of divulging the level of investments it is planning to make.

MegaFon is now offering its customers evolved 4G Long Term Evolution-Advanced (LTE-A) services via the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge model commercially in Moscow, making it only the second operator to offer LTE-A in the capital – the other being Vimpelcom (Beeline), via the Samsung Galaxy Alpha device, launched in August. Until now, the only device MegaFon carried with support for LTE-A was a stationary wireless router dubbed MegaFonSpace. The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge handset will go on sale in Russia on 20 November, will cost RUB49,990 (USD1,057), and will support a peak data rate of 246.87Mbps.

By the end of this year, Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) says it will have launched a LTE network in the 1800MHz band in Moscow, having received the necessary regulatory approvals. A report from Lenta.ru says that from next year, MTS plans to offer LTE-1800 services in the capital over a network totalling ‘several thousands’ of base stations, capable of providing downlink data transmission in at a speed of up to 100Mbps. Having already deployed 2600MHz LTE services, MTS is now using the lower band to reduce the number of base stations required to provide coverage in the city. In September 2014 the cellco introduced a test LTE-1800 network in Bashkiria. It currently holds LTE-1800 licences covering 21 Russian regions, including Moscow, St Petersburg with surrounding regions, Krasnodar Territory, Sverdlovsk, Chelyabinsk and the Kaliningrad region of the Republic of Adygea and Karelia, amongst others.

And finally, the fixed line operator TransTeleCom (TTK) says it has upgraded its backbone network between Michurinskom and Lipetsk, providing a doubling in capacity from 10Gbps to 20Gbps. In a press release, the telco said the upgrade will benefit TTK’s customers which include large businesses and SMEs in the two cities. TTK launched commercial services in Lipetsk in 2009, adding Michurinsk in 2012. It currently offers broadband internet access at speeds of 20Mbps-100Mbps.

Russia, MegaFon, Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), Rostelecom, Tele2 Russia, TransTeleCom (TTK)