This post is by Alla Shabelnikova, Research analyst for Informa Telecoms & Media with a focus on telecoms in Russia and CIS.
Kazakhtelecom was the only operator in Kazakhstan to obtain a permission to use LTE frequencies in 2011. And until 2015 its fully-owned subsidiary Altel will have a monopoly on LTE. Other operators took the news with a bit of resentment, given that in 2010 Kcell and Beeline successfully tested LTE in Kazakhstan. But for Altel, being the smallest player on Kazakhstan’s mobile market, working on less and less popular in the country CDMA standard, this was probably the only way to survive.
Have you heard about the one where one of the supposedly leading economies of Europe had its LTE rollout repeatedly delayed much to the frustration of everyone except the lawyers. Yes, it’s called the UK. No you’re right, it’s not funny.
Over here, this week we’ve been looking enviously at Russia that has given out its 800MHz LTE licences with virtually no fuss to its top four network operators – the state-owned Rostelecom and the other big three: MTS, Vimpelcom and MegaFon. They paid exactly nothing for the licences but as part of the deal they are required to spend 15 billion Russian rubles ($457.42m or £296.2m) into network infrastructure each year until 2019. Which doesn’t seem that much compared to the billions that UK networks are required to pay.
Yota is of course already operating there, based on its WiMAX standard but in the process of switching over to LTE using 2.3GHZ, 2.5GHZ and 3.5GHz.
The point is that it’s all go as far as LTE is concerned over there, while over here we seem to be sitting behind what could be described as a virtual iron curtain.
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