Russian cellco VimpelCom (Beeline) is in the process of catching up its main rivals in terms of regional coverage of 4G LTE networks, having multiplied its number of operational LTE base stations by around 50% during full-year 2015, Telecom Daily reports. The deployments are estimated to have increased total LTE base stations on the network to over 10,500, whilst Beeline disclosed that it now operates commercial LTE services in 246 cities in 58 regions of the country, representing roughly 50% of Russia’s population – compared to 44 regions covered at the end of 2014. During 2015 the volume of traffic in Beeline’s LTE network increased four-fold, and LTE’s share of data traffic doubled. In Moscow and St. Petersburg the fourth-generation traffic surpassed 40% and 30% of Beeline’s total traffic, respectively, by the end of 2015. Beeline’s director of network development Sergey Knyshev noted that the operator has been concentrating on providing 4G in high-demand ‘smartphone cluster’ zones, whilst also increasing data speeds in areas outside LTE coverage by activating dual carrier HSPA+ (DC-HSPA+) 42Mbps-capable services. ‘In 2016, we will keep pace and continue the large-scale modernisation of the network with the activation of 4G,’ he added. Largest cellular operator by subscribers Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) has LTE coverage of 83 Russian regions, whilst MegaFon, the second-placed cellco in user volume terms, serves over 72 regions with LTE.