Kazakh state-backed telco Kazakhtelecom – parent of mobile operators Kcell and Mobile Telecom Service (Tele2-Altel) – has announced that a new 5G ‘free access’ network zone is being launched in the city of Turkestan using test frequencies in the ‘C-band’ 3500MHz range, accessible to Tele2/Altel subscribers. TeleGeography notes that since early September 2021 Tele2 customers have been offered free access to an Almaty city centre 5G 3500MHz network zone using test spectrum, and on 11 October the Almaty zone was opened up to Altel subscribers, whilst in early October 2021 Minister of Digital Development Bagdat Musin disclosed that more than one Kazakh operator had begun 5G testing programmes in Kazakhstan’s capital Nur-Sultan and Almaty after being allocated test frequencies.
According to Kazakhtelecom’s press release, the latest Tele2-Altel test launch consists of a single Non-Standalone (NSA) 5G base station situated on Bekzat Sattarkhanov Avenue in Turkestan, linked by a 10GE optical transport channel providing data transfer rates up to 1.2Gbps. In early 2022 it is planned to deploy further 5G base stations in and around Turkestan, including coverage of the airport and administrative/business/cultural centres. The parent group also noted that currently available 5G-supporting devices include handsets from Xiaomi and Huawei while negotiations are ongoing with Apple, Samsung and Vivo to activate 5G support on further devices.