Russia’s largest cellco by subscribers Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) has bought five regional technology-neutral (4G) 1800MHz band mobile frequency licences in a spectrum auction in ten regions, reports Telecom Daily. Between 29 September and 3 October MTS bought 1800MHz licences (earmarked for LTE and/or GSM expansion) in the Amur, North Ossetia-Alania, Orenburg, Perm and Komi-Perm regions, for a total of RUB1.91 billion (USD29.7 million). MTS’ close rival MegaFon won frequencies in Dagestan and Karachayevo-Cherkessia, paying approximately RUB1.26 billion, but third-largest Russian cellco Vimpelcom (Beeline) reportedly paid the highest amount in the auction, claiming licences in Stavropol and Buryatia costing a total of RUB2.03 billion. Rostelecom-backed operator Tele2 Russia won 1800MHz spectrum in the Samara region for RUB1.08 billion.
In related news, Russia’s communications ministry confirmed that a previous decision from the state radio frequencies commission has entered into force, permitting nationwide technology-neutral usage of existing licensed frequencies across several additional bands. The move ensures unrestricted 4G LTE deployments for all operators holding licences in the following bands: 791MHz-820MHz, 832MHz-861MHz, 890MHz-915MHz, 935MHz-960MHz, 1710MHz-1785MHz, 1805MHz-1880MHz, 2570MHz-2620MHz, 2500-2570MHz and 2620MHz-2690MHz. All four largest Russian cellcos MTS, MegaFon, Beeline and Tele2 already operate LTE networks in various bands including 800MHz, 1800MHz and 2600MHz ranges.