Russia’s largest mobile operator by subscribers Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) and China’s Huawei Technologies signed an agreement yesterday on the development of 5G technology in Russia, including planned test network launches later this year and further launches in 2020. The agreement was signed following talks in Moscow between Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and China’s President Xi Jinping, reports Reuters.
MTS was quoted by AFP as stating that the deal with Huawei covers ‘the development of 5G technologies and the pilot launch of fifth-generation networks in 2019 and 2020’. TeleGeography notes that in February this year MTS signed a ‘5G roadmap’ agreement with Swedish vendor Ericsson for 2019-2022, describing the deployment of the first 5G network segments in pilot zones and commercial clusters in 2019. For 2019 the roadmap includes deployment of a pre-commercial 5G New Radio (NR) mobile pilot and a 5G Fixed Wireless Access pilot. Nokia of Finland has also been a partner in MTS’ 5G/pre-5G development and piloting programmes since 2016.
In related events in Russia this week, the State Commission for Radio Frequencies (SCRF) has expanded a 5G test frequency range allocated for pilot zones in Moscow this year, to 25.25GHz-29.5GHz (from the previously allocated 25.25GHz-27.5GHz), alongside the 4.8GHz-4.99GHz band (unchanged). The 5G pilots in the capital will run in at least four zones – one each to be allocated to Russia’s ‘big four’ cellular operators MTS, MegaFon, Beeline and Tele2 – in cooperation with the ICT department of the Moscow municipal authorities, and tests will incorporate interoperability between 5G and existing commercial mobile technologies.
Last month MTS also discussed potential cooperation on 5G network development with South Korean operator KT Corp when the respective CEOs of KT and MTS, Hwang Chang-gyu and Alexey Kornya, met at KT’s Seoul headquarters.