Kyivstar, MTS, Lifecell 1800MHz agreement should lead to licence tender this year

27 Mar 2017

Ukraine’s largest mobile operator by subscribers Kyivstar has reached an agreement with main rivals MTS (Vodafone Ukraine) and Lifecell on the planned redistribution of the 1800MHz frequency range for supporting 4G services, which should lead to an 1800MHz licence sale by the end of this year, according to a Facebook post by the chairman of the local telecoms regulator, Alexander Zhivotovsky, as reported by BizLiga. The 1800MHz spectrum tender will follow Ukraine’s planned 2600MHz 4G licence auction (the latter incorporating frequencies returned to the regulator by MMDS Ukraine), with regulatory decisions on the 2600MHz/1800MHz processes including licensing costs awaiting final government approval. Under the plan of the National Commission for State Regulation of Communications & Informatization (NCCIR) and the operators’ agreement, existing GSM-1800 frequency allocations will be returned for conversion/redistribution, with 2х75MHz in the 1800MHz band up for grabs – although a large portion (2×60MHz) will be guaranteed to the three main cellcos to provide continuity of service, and the remaining 2×15MHz placed in a competitive auction. Kyivstar – which holds the bulk of the existing GSM-1800 range – is likely to claim its right of first refusal on 2×25MHz, whilst Vodafone Ukraine could purchase a reserved 2×20MHz block and Lifecell 2×15MHz.