Russia’s Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media (a.k.a. Ministry of Communications or Minkomsvyaz) has proposed allocating new frequencies for 5G in the 4.4GHz–4.99GHz range, Telecom Daily reported. Although this band is not commonly allocated for 5G worldwide, TeleGeography notes that China Mobile was given access to trial 5G spectrum at 4.8GHz-4.9GHz in December 2018 before being awarded a commercial 5G licence in June 2019, while in April 2019 Japan’s NTT DOCOMO was authorised to use the 4.5GHz-4.6GHz band for its 5G network rollout, having trialled 5G 4.5GHz services in 2017-2018. Furthermore, Russian fixed broadband operator ER-Telecom has been permitted to utilise 4.8GHz-4.99GHz spectrum for 5G connectivity tests, aiming to provide wholesale services to cellcos.
The process to free up ‘mainstream’ 3.4GHz-3.8GHz 5G mobile spectrum in Russia remains stalled as the latter frequencies are reserved for security/law enforcement/intelligence/military usage. Minkomsvyaz has recently rejected several operators’ applications for 3.4GHz-3.8GHz bandwidth. Vice Prime Minister Maxim Akimov told reporters last week that the government will establish a working group to plan 5G pilot zones using 3.4GHz-3.8GHz spectrum in cooperation with other state agencies and special services departments (in addition to ongoing projects for 27GHz-28GHz 5G pilot zones in Moscow).