Beeline Russia disclosed that it has deployed around 800 new mobile base stations in St Petersburg and the surrounding Leningrad Region so far this year, reaching over half of its targeted 1,500 new cells across the city/region for full-year 2020 as part of its ‘SuperCity’ project. Particular focus is on ‘white spots’ in coverage, as well as new buildings in the city and region, the St Petersburg metro system and key roads, while in high-demand zones the operator is deploying technologies such as MIMO 4×4 and multiple carrier aggregation. In a separate release, Beeline reported that in Moscow city/region it deployed as many mobile base stations in H1 2020 as it did in the whole of 2019.
Also this week, Beeline, Nokia and Qualcomm launched a 5G pilot/demo network at SevKabel Port in St Petersburg using a temporary local permit for mmWave (26GHz-28GHz) frequencies. Attendees can test 5G capabilities by playing VR/online games via the Beeline Gaming cloud service.
Beeline has also announced a large-scale fixed broadband access network modernisation programme to support increased home internet usage while maintaining high speed, quality and stability. Investments in the 2020-2021 programme are expected to reach RUB2.3 billion (USD31 million). Beeline has already completed the first stage of expanding fixed network capacity in Moscow, St Petersburg and twelve other cities, upping capacity by 40% in each city with channel bandwidth increasing to 100Gbps. Beeline currently offers residential fixed broadband and digital TV in 180 cities, including its own fibre-to-the-building (FTTB) network and extended coverage via the fixed virtual network operator (FVNO) model.
Separately, Beeline reported that it is introducing new generation SON (Self Optimising Network) systems for automated optimisation of 2G, 3G, LTE and LTE-A networks. The AI-based technology provided by PI Works is already operating on the Beeline network in Moscow, and is also being implemented in St Petersburg and Krasnodar, under a plan to be scaled to the whole of Russia in due course.