Tele2 Russia, which launched a small-scale LTE-450 network at the end of May in the Tver and Novgorod regions, has announced the expansion of the service to St Petersburg, and disclosed that it expects to reach Moscow with the commercial rollout in July. The new mobile broadband service uses the state-backed group’s legacy SkyLink brand, offering modems which also support 800MHz, 1800MHz and 2600MHz bands.
Tele2 is rolling out LTE-450 under a strategy to expand its existing LTE coverage in frequency bands including 800MHz, 1800MHz and 2300MHz. The 450MHz frequencies were formerly held by CDMA-450 provider SkyLink, a subsidiary of Rostelecom, which began LTE-450 tests in late-2013. In August 2014 all mobile (2G/3G/4G) spectrum licences allocated to Rostelecom were transferred to the newly restructured Tele2 Russia, which is 45%-owned by state-controlled Rostelecom, whilst government-backed bank VTB Group is the next largest shareholder with 27.5%.