Vega now controls 4G spectrum holder MMDS Ukraine; Lifecell 3G reaches 617 settlements

13 May 2016

BizLiga, quoting the press department of Ukrainian fixed line telco Vega, writes that operational control over 2.5GHz spectrum licensee MMDS Ukraine was transferred to Vega in April 2016. Recently, the National Commission for the State Regulation of Communications and Informatization (NCCIR or NKRZI) was overruled in a Kyiv court and forced to renew 4G LTE-suitable wireless spectrum licences held by MMDS Ukraine, an associated company of nationwide incumbent telco Ukrtelecom’s parent SCM Group – also the parent of Vega. The SCM conglomerate, owned by the country’s richest man Rinat Akhmetov, is in the process of selling Ukrtelecom’s 3G mobile unit TriMob, whilst it previously offloaded its stake in nationwide GSM/3G operator Lifecell (formerly Astelit) to investment partner Turkcell. Meanwhile, BizLiga adds that the NCCIR has not given up in its attempts to make MMDS Ukraine return its spectrum – which the regulator asserts is underutilised although the company’s ‘active’ transmitters technically qualify it to retain the commercial frequencies. The watchdog is understood to be pursuing a strategy of unscheduled inspections of MMDS Ukraine’s facilities.

Elsewhere, Lifecell – Ukraine’s third largest cellco by users – has updated its 3G network coverage footprint, disclosing that the ‘3G+’ branded W-CDMA/tri-carrier HSPA+ network it launched in May 2015 has now reached 617 cities, towns and villages across the country, including 17 regional centres. The rate of expansion accelerated rapidly in April and early May 2016, with 262 additional settlements (including one additional regional centre) going live on the 3G+ network since end-March 2016.

Ukraine, Lifecell (Ukraine), MMDS-Ukraine, Vega (owned by Vodafone Ukraine)