Ukraine’s National Commission for State Regulation of Communications & Informatization (NCCIR/NKRZI) issued a statement on its website yesterday (1 April 2020) that it plans to cancel the 4G LTE licence it had promised to CDMA mobile network operator Intertelecom, due to non-payment of the licence fees. On 7 February 2020 Intertelecom received the green light from the NCCIR to receive a 4G LTE operating licence on 1 April 2020 and begin a national LTE network rollout using refarmed 800MHz-850MHz spectrum. However, by that date, the NCCIR confirmed that only UAH1 million (USD35,000) had been paid of the total UAH194.6 million asking price.
The launch of LTE by Intertelecom was intended to form part of the programme of 800MHz-900MHz frequency redistribution/refarming between four operators including GSM players Kyivstar, Vodafone and Lifecell alongside the CDMA provider. The GSM trio paid for their newly reallocated technology-neutral 900MHz spectrum licences last month, with permission to launch LTE-900 services from 1 July 2020, while the failure of Intertelecom to find funding for its spectrum draws into question its ability to continue serving existing CDMA customers. The NCCIR has requested Intertelecom submit an action plan within ten days, whilst ordering it to disconnect 9-15 frequency channels in the Transcarpathian, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv and Volyn regions in line with certain agreements between the four cellcos and the regulator.