4G spectrum taken away from Ukrtelecom associate?

14 Jan 2016

Ukraine’s telecoms watchdog, the National Commission for the State Regulation of Communications and Informatization (NCCIR or NKRZI), has refused to extend 4G LTE-suitable wireless spectrum licences held by MMDS Ukraine, an associated company of SCM Group, the conglomerate owned by the country’s richest man Rinat Akhmetov, which also owns nationwide incumbent telco Ukrtelecom and sister operator Vega. BizLiga writes that 4G-capable frequency licences expiring in May 2016 have not been renewed in the following territories: Volyn, Poltava, Kirovohrad, Cherkasy, Rivne, Khmelnytsky, Vinnytsia, Luhansk, Sumy, Nikolaev, Kherson, Ternopil, Kharkiv, Transcarpathian, Zhytomyr, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv, Chernivtsi, Chernihiv and Kiev. The report adds that the NCCIR refused to renew similar frequency concessions held by MMDS Ukraine in Odessa and Dnipropetrovsk at the end of 2015, whilst the reason stated is the failure of MMDS to utilise the spectrum.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database shows that the Ukrainian telecoms regulatory authorities awarded a nationwide 2.5GHz licence (suitable for WiMAX, but now earmarked for LTE), without tender, in December 2005 for USD150,000 to SCM, which transferred the licence to MMDS Ukraine, a firm 25%-owned by the conglomerate. The potential 4G frequencies have largely remained dormant in many areas of the country ever since.