MTS tests LTE-U, signs software modernisation deal with Ericsson; goes to court over ownership of four SMARTS units

21 Jun 2016

Russia’s Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) has signed a software supply agreement with Ericsson running until early 2019 to modernise its network systems, whilst extending an existing network development contract by three years. Given the latest contract extension, the Swedish vendor said that MTS’ cumulative purchases of Ericsson equipment/services could total EUR1.82 billion (USD2.06 billion) in 2008-2019. Under the agreement with Ericsson, MTS says it will be able to implement new technology solutions in areas including Internet of Things (IoT) solutions for nascent ‘5G’ networks, plus a test version of the Extended Coverage GSM IoT (EC-GSM-IoT) radio interface – which enables operation of M2M devices on existing GSM network platforms, the cellco’s press release notes.

Meanwhile, MTS and Ericsson disclosed that they have successfully tested a ‘5G’ technology solution – LTE-U (LTE-Unlicensed) – by aggregating two frequencies – 10MHz in the 1800MHz range and 20MHz of unlicensed 5GHz band spectrum – at Wi-Fi access points. During testing, speeds of up to 200Mbps were recorded. The test was reported as the first fruit from the MTS-Ericsson agreement signed in December 2015 aimed at developing and implementing 5G technologies in Russia.

In other MTS news, Tdaily reports that the group is going to court to force the completion of its previously agreed purchases of four divisions of Volga-based regional mobile operator SMARTS, in Penza, Yoshkar-Ola, Saransk and Ulyanovsk. MTS president Andrey Dubovskov was quoted as saying that the firm will pursue all possible avenues to complete the transactions under agreements made with SMARTS’ owners at the end of 2014. Signed contracts stipulated that 100% of the four units in question should be sold by the end of November 2015, but the deal did not materialise, whilst the High Court in London imposed a legal block on the sale of the four companies. MTS estimated its losses from the failure of the transaction at USD35 million. Dubovskov explained the value to MTS of the regional cellular units, stating: ‘There’s no subscribers, but good frequency assets.’

Russia, Ericsson, Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), SMARTS Group