Russia round-up: TTK launches WiMAX in Kovrov, Vladimir region; MTS improves 3G; new rules to improve operator-subscriber relations; ER-Telecom moves for Skynet; Rostelecom enters MVNO market; state body says no plans to privatise Rostelecom in 2015

16 Dec 2014

TransTeleCom (TTK) has commercially launched its wireless broadband WiMAX network in Kovrova, Vladimir region, covering around 30% of residential properties there. The operator’s WiMAX network is capable of providing internet access at speeds of up to 3Mbps via a modem. TTK was awarded rights to operate fixed wireless access (FWA) networks in the 3400MHz-3450MHz and 3500MHz-3550MHz bands in 27 Russian cities in September 2011. It considers WiMAX technology to be a key technology to augment its wired fibre-optic (FTTx) networks to provide broadband services to residential users.

Power company Irkutskenergo, which focuses on the generation of hydroelectricity in the Irkutsk region, has inked a tripartite agreement with Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) and Irkutsk Electric Grid Company, under which the mobile operator has deployed more than 70 base stations on Irkutskenergo’s power grid in the region. The trio say the additional base stations have improved the quality of 3G network there and resulted in a doubling of average mobile internet speeds. MTS Irkutsk branch director Andrew Bereznoy said: ‘Today, MTS’s 3G network is available to more than 80% of the population of the Irkutsk region.’

ComNews writes that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree Resolution No. 1342, titled ‘On the order of telecommunication services, which has been developed by the Ministry of Communications (MinSvyaz) to improve relations between network operators and end users where it concerns the provision of both fixed and mobile services. In a press release, MinSvyaz said that Resolution No. 1342 introduces uniform rules for the provision of telephone service to replace the previous regimes (i.e. ‘Rules of providing mobile services’ and ‘Rules of providing local, intercity and international telephone communications’). The head of MinSvyaz Nikolay Nikiforov said the move to adopt common rules should solve a number of problems currently hampering the development of the market.

The regional cable services operator ER-Telecom Holding, which offers services under the brand name, has revealed plans to purchase St Petersburg-based Skynet, reports ComNews citing two unnamed sources as saying. If completed, the acquisition would boost ER-Telecom’s market share in the city to around 34%, and follows its 2013 move to snap up another St Petersburg-based internet service provider (ISP), InterZet.

Rostelecom has announced that despite the transfer of its mobile assets to a new joint venture (JV) with Tele2 Russia, the operator still retains an active presence in the Russian mobile market. The carrier says that it has launched a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) business – piggybacking on JV T2 RTC Holdings’ network – and offering services to corporate clients in the Urals Federal District and Perm. To facilitate the deal, Rostelecom has reportedly signed contracts totalling RUB96.6 million (USD1.7 million) with T2 RTC units RT-Mobile, Astarte, Sky Link, Apex and Uralwestcom.

And finally, TASS reports that the Federal Property Management Agency has no plans to privatise shares in Rostelecom in 2015. The agency cites deputy minister of economic development, Olga Dergounova, as saying that although everything is in place to launch a sale and ‘all the housework is done’, any move to sell off shares in the operator is unlikely to take place until 2016 at the earliest.