MTS, MegaFon make announcements on 5G evolution path, regional consolidation

27 Sep 2016

Samsung Electronics and Russia’s Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to ‘jointly explore and advance new telecommunications technologies’ on the path towards 5G. The MoU covers technologies including advanced carrier aggregation (CA), multiple-input multiple output (MIMO), LTE Broadcast (eMBMS), Multi-path TCP (MPTCP) as well as Internet of Things (IoT) technologies such as NB-IoT and LTE-Machine (LTE-M). The two companies – which have been working together since 2013 on LTE networks in the North-West Federal District of Russia – will conduct multiple tests to enhance data communication speed, leveraging 4G infrastructure through advanced CA, MIMO and MPTCP, plus continuing to expand their mutual long-term business cooperation with a focus on 5G. A Samsung spokesperson said that ‘Based on Samsung’s strengths in 5G and IoT, we look forward to supporting MTS in solidifying their position as an innovative telecommunications leader by discovering new opportunities for the commercialisation of 5G.’ MTS has existing multiple 5G/pre-5G development programmes in place with other technology partners including Nokia and Ericsson.

In other recent MTS news, the cellular heavyweight has acquired regional operator Smarts-Yoshkar-Ola, covering the Mari El Republic, via group subsidiary Telecom Volga, for a total price of RUB41 million (USD641,000) including RUB27.7 million in net debt. The acquisition from the SMARTS group was originally agreed in 2014 and is being completed as part of a settlement of legal disputes between the parties, under permission from federal competition watchdog FAS. Smarts-Yoshkar-Ola owns 14.8MHz of 1800MHz band spectrum suitable for expanding MTS’s 4G LTE services.

Rival major cellco MegaFon has also recently announced 5G development progress, carrying out a ‘Russian first’ demonstration of mobile data transmission using 5G ‘real hardware prototypes’ in Nizhny Novgorod, achieving a peak mobile data rate of 4.94Gbps at the International Business Summit (IBS 2016). Nokia’s commercial-ready equipment was used during the demonstration.

MegaFon has also recently announced regional consolidation – its shareholders approved the mergers of 100%-owned subsidiaries Mobicom Volga and Yaroslavl-GSM into the parent company.

Russia, MegaFon, Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), Nokia, Nokia Networks (formerly NSN), Samsung