Kyivstar, Lifecell, Vodafone Ukraine receive LTE-900 licences; Intertelecom gets extension to pay licence fee

20 Mar 2020

Ukraine’s three largest mobile operators Kyivstar, Vodafone and Lifecell have each been issued technology-neutral 900MHz licences permitting the launch of 4G LTE-900 services from 1 July 2020, reports. National Commission for State Regulation of Communications & Informatization (NCCIR/NKRZI) representative Bohdan Piven confirmed the licensing, carrying conditions obliging operators to provide LTE-900 in all localities with a population of more than 2,000 people within two years and to ensure 4G services cover at least 90% of the Ukrainian population as well as all national /cross-border roads by the end of 2024. The trio will use LTE-900 to extend their existing LTE-1800/2600 networks across small towns and villages countrywide.

Licence fees varied (due to the comparative size of the cellcos’ redistributed 900MHz ranges, previously used for GSM services only): Kyivstar UAH260 million (USD9.33 million), Vodafone UAH230 million (update: Vodafone later reported the full cost of the licence as UAH265 million) and Lifecell UAH121 million (later confirmed by Lifecell).

Largest cellco by subscribers Kyivstar announced its licence award on its website, noting that the LTE-900 permission will see it ‘begin technical work to launch high speed mobile internet in the remotest corners of Ukraine’. In addition to its licence fee, Kyivstar said it ‘plans to invest several billion hryvnias to deploy the 4G network at 900MHz’ with preparatory work starting in April 2020. Kyivstar also highlighted that the 900MHz redistribution process involved it returning a portion of its GSM spectrum so that all players could access adequate next-generation mobile frequencies.

A fourth operator applying for LTE-900 permission, CDMA operator Intertelecom, has been given an extension by the NCCIR to pay its licence fee for redistributed 800MHz-900MHz frequencies. Having missed a 10 March deadline, Intertelecom now has until 1 April to pay.