Intertelecom carries on regardless with CDMA to LTE switch

22 May 2020

Ukrainian CDMA mobile network operator Intertelecom issued an update to its users on 20 May 2020 detailing its progress in switching to 4G LTE technology, involving refarming 850MHz band spectrum, despite having missed the payment deadline for its LTE licence, with a court case pending on the matter. The update informs subscribers: ‘Most Intertelecom base stations can operate simultaneously in CDMA-850 and LTE-850 without replacement of [end user] equipment; for others you need to buy a new [LTE user device and/or SIM card]. Following the refarming plan, we have already freed up the radio frequency resource 9-11, 14-15 CDMA channels in Transcarpathian, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv, Volyn, Ternopol, Rivne, Chernivtsi, Khmelnytsky, Zhytomyr and Vinnitsa regions, and implemented 43% measures for refarming in six areas.’ The company says it aims to finish spectrum refarming ‘by the end of autumn 2020’ while stressing that in most areas it will continue to provide services based on CDMA2000 1xEV-DO Rev A/Rev B standards alongside LTE until 2025.

On 1 April 2020 Ukraine’s National Commission for State Regulation of Communications & Informatization (NCCIR/NKRZI) cancelled the LTE licence it had allocated to Intertelecom in February, as the CDMA provider still owed UAH193.6 million (USD6.88 million) in licence fees, having handed over just UAH1 million. However, the Kyiv District Administrative Court suspended the decision, and all concessions remain valid until the court makes a final decision on a lawsuit filed by Intertelecom against the NCCIR. Intertelecom’s latest announcement claims that the NCCIR will issue the LTE licence under previously agreed conditions once the operator makes the final payment, although it did not disclose an expected payment date.