Russian mobile frequencies auction looks set to be delayed until 3Q15

16 Jan 2015

Russia’s plan to auction off frequencies for advanced mobile communications services is unlikely to take place until at least the third quarter of the year, despite previous government assurances that it would announce the terms and dates of the bidding process before the end of last year. According to the portal regulation.gov.ru, the Ministry of Communications (MinSvyaz) is still in the throes of implementing the methodology for determining the initial prices for the spectrum lots, adding that it will be April-June before it starts accepting offers.

In May 2014 the government approved a decree to start the distribution of 4G spectrum in the 2570MHz-2620MHz band before the end of the fourth quarter, but as previously reported by CommsUpdate, the State Radio Frequency Commission (SRFC) is currently making adjustments to the terms and conditions of the planned auction of Long Term Evolution (LTE) licences covering the band. Originally, the regulator had intended to auction off two lots of spectrum on a federation-wide basis, but in a change of heart the SRFC now plans to instruct the Federal Service for Supervision of IT & Comms (Roskomnadzor) to auction off all 82 lots of spectrum: one block on a federal basis, and now one block on a regional basis across Russia, which can be purchased as required by network operators to meet their needs. However, the SRFC notes that some areas have been excluded from the region-specific classification, namely: Moscow, Moscow region, the Crimea and Sevastopol.

In 1Q15, Roscomnadzor is also expected to announce an auction for 1800MHz frequencies for LTE in ten regions, while in addition at a meeting scheduled for early next month, SRFC is expected to confirm the auction of frequencies in the 1980MHz-2010MHz and 2170MHz-2200MHz bands across the country (excepting Crimea and Sevastopol).