Russian ministry drafts plan for 5G network sharing

7 Apr 2020

Russia’s Ministry of Digital Development, Communications & Mass Media (a.k.a. Ministry of Communications or Minkomsvyaz) has drafted a new strategy document on 5G network development, including proposed details of operations under a joint venture (JV) to be formed by national cellcos MTS, MegaFon, Beeline and Rostelecom/Tele2. As reported by ComNews, the proposals include allocating regions to each of the four cellcos for exclusive 5G network rollout. In an initial phase, the selected ‘anchor operator’ for a given region would share access to the new network with the other JV participants, who would pay a share of the operational costs. Once sufficient 5G spectrum resources became available in a region, each JV partner would be permitted to deploy their own 5G networks. The four main players agreed in principle on forming a JV to support 5G development in December 2019.

The ministry’s draft also includes a proposal to issue operators 5G spectrum licences without competitive auction, in return for the federal government obtaining an ownership share in the 5G JV.

The document also reportedly contains plans to push forward with the allocation of 5G mobile frequencies in the 700MHz (694MHz-790MHz) band which currently remains partially occupied by TV services.