BelTA reports that the government of Belarus is considering several options for building out a 5G network in the country, and to that end has welcomed proposals from Austria-based A1 Telekom Austria Group – owner of domestic cellco A1 Belarus (formerly VELCOM). First Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Aleksandr Turchin informed Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Austria to Belarus, Aloisia Worgetter, of the government’s position at a recent bilateral meeting in which the subject of A1 Telekom was mentioned. According to Turchin: ‘In my opinion, only the matter of the development of the 5G network remains undecided. The Belarusian government is looking into various options for building this network. A proposal has been made by A1. Another has been made by MTS Belarus. This is why we intend to discuss these options soon in order to work out some decision and understand in what direction we are going to move.’ Further, the minister assured Ms Worgetter that the Belarusian administration would consider all options on the table, adding that the government ‘would be grateful if A1 presented a well-reasoned explanation why their proposal is the best one’.
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database writes that in August 2013 the Ministry of Communications and Informatisation (Minsvyazi) issued a licence to joint venture Belarusian Cloud Technologies (beCloud) to operate in the country’s communications market as a wholesale infrastructure access provider – initially via a communal 4G LTE network that now covers more than 75% of the population. In July 2018, meanwhile, Belarus’ Operational and Analytical Center (OAC, a body working under the Office of the President), beCloud and Turkish telco Turkcell held strategic talks concerning the development of 5G services in Belarus. One area under discussion centred on boosting mutual cooperation between Belarus and Turkey in the field of telecommunications and IT, as well as the prospects for beCloud and Turkcell – which owns an 80% stake in the country’s third largest mobile operator BeST (life:)) – to work together in future. beCloud went on to launch the first experimental zones for 5G in Minsk, in December 2018, working in partnership with Ericsson of Sweden.