Today's Comment: LTE over GSM in Russia; Tele2 to join Russian LTE tender.
- Tele2 confirms its involvement in upcoming tender.
- Anticipating that the odds of success in that tender are stacked against it, it is pushing for liberalisation of GSM bands for LTE.
Today we focus on two developments:
- Tele2 Russia has confirmed that it will participate in the upcoming LTE tender for 800-MHz spectrum. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dmitriy Strashnov has said that he does find the auction conditions discriminatory.
- Russia’s State Commission for Radio Frequencies (SCRF) is to consider allowing the deployment of LTE networks through GSM bands, reports RIA Novosti. The head of the SCRF, Yury Zhuravel, said that the research has been completed and a decision will be made by end-2012.
Four LTE licences are to be put up for tender, with 2x7.5-MHz of nationwide spectrum to be distributed on 12 July. IHS Global Insight expects that the four licences will be won by MegaFon, MTS, Rostelecom, and VimpelCom, as a result of tender conditions. As a result Tele2 and SMARTS conducted the tests with the SCRF for the use of LTE in 1,800-MHz GSM spectrum (see Russia: 13 March 2012: Tele2 Russia Commences LTE Testing).
The 1,800-MHz band is seeing increasing usage worldwide for LTE deployments with the band conferring some advantages over 2,600-MHz frequencies. The Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) reported that there were 18 commercial LTE networks operating in 1,800-MHz frequencies with some 75 devices available.
Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS), the national competition watchdog, is likely to push for allowing the use of LTE in GSM bands, primarily as means to increase competition. The FAS warned prior to the finalisation of the tender conditions that four national licences would hinder competition and exclude smaller regional operators (see Russia: 9 November 2012: Russia's Antimonopoly Service Challenges LTE Frequency Tender Process).
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