The introduction of LTE in Russia raised the barrier, but at the same time they crushed WiMAX and wiped Tele2

    Last week an important event came (and even life-determining, ready to have an effect on the years ahead): the decision of the State Commission on Radio Frequencies (SCRC), adopted at a meeting on Thursday September 8, 2011. If you read the brief report on the meeting posted on the website of the Ministry of Communications the next day (September 9), then here are the main news:
    • In Russia there will be no more than seven LTE operators for which a frequency band from 791 to 862 MHz is allocated.
    • LTE operators will be determined on a competitive basis: the four winners of the competition will receive the right to build dual-band networks, and the other three - single-band in the upper range.
    • The allocation of frequencies is due to the obligation of the operator to perform the frequency conversion (at his own expense to remove transmitters from this range - for example, military), in return the operator is guaranteed the right to operate the ranges that he cleared.
    • On the possibility of using LTE in the radio frequency bands of existing operators, it was decided to complete the research and submit proposals in the 1st quarter of 2012 to the State Committee for Radio Frequencies. That is, there will not be such LTE for at least another six months.
    If you stop at this place, you can be a little (and not without reason) glad that the case has finally moved forward. however, it’s enough to go up and move on, reading the press and asking even the simplest questions (“Who benefits?”, “How will it be?”), how you come across a series of unpleasant news and a bit of conflicting interpretations of what happened.

    Minister Shchegolev (this is the one whose promised interview did n’t actually happen ) gave two interviews, where he touched on cellular communications and LTE: a text interview with RIA Novosti and a video interviewTV channel "Russia 24". In each of these interviews, the minister showed himself to be a consistent opponent of the principle of technological neutrality - namely, an opponent who claims that the introduction of LTE at the frequencies that are already allocated to mobile operators will inevitably degrade the quality of traditional (voice) services. Personally, the position he takes on the issue of neutrality saddens me for about the same reasons as the position announced by the president of Rostelecom announced in the spring: both argue roughly that the transfer of large amounts of data is not necessary for the average user, but for individuals who should be forced to shell out separately. (It turns out that the development of, for example, file sharing, video telephones, network video broadcasts will inevitably be restrained not only by the inertia of users’s consciousness, but also by the inertia of their wallet.) In addition, it becomes quite clear that if the case depended on the minister, the last point GKRCH decisions (on the possibility of using LTE in the radio frequency bands of existing operators) would be a severe failure; even inevitably you begin to suspect that the current undertaking (to conduct research, to submit proposals) also disguises precisely the refusal, but it is only a little softer, and delayed, and expensive.

    The second unpleasant news (and for some in terms of importance it is likely to become, I suspect, even the first) is reported by RIA Novosti (September 9), and this news can be transmitted in a nutshell: the end of WiMAX . Thousands of Weimax subscribers (MTS only has Comstar-OTS in Moscow, and Scartel has all the cities of the Yota WiMAX presence: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Krasnodar, Sochi, Ufa ...) will remain in a year (in September 2012) without mobile Internet, their frequencies will be selected in favor of the introduction of LTE, their purchased modems will instantly turn into useless bricks (or key rings, or plastic eggs), and their operators will not even intervene for them if they wish to maintain good relations with ministry and state. Although (like mecreat0r prompts in the comments ) WiMAX will be saved from the Freshtel operator, whose frequency is outside the redistributed range.

    True, RIA Novosti’s hunch that WiMAX operators will surrender their frequencies without a fight turned out to be not entirely correct - at least with regard to MTS, Vedomosti ( September 9 ) and CNews ( 16 ) unanimously contradict it. September ) that MTS will fight: it will file a complaint with the Federal Antimonopoly Service against the decision of the State Committee for Emergency Situations and even leave the LTE Union, which had previously been created in the presence of Putin . Interestingly, the chairman of the LTE Union told Kommersant newspaper ( September 9) that the consortium has fulfilled its task, so that both its work and the participation of MTS in it, one must think, would end both this and that.

    Last week, news came that MTS was organizing the first demonstration zone of the LTE network in Siberia and the Far East as part of the VII Baikal International Economic Forum and the celebration of the 350th anniversary of the city of Irkutsk; it is mentioned that the data transfer rate in the LTE network reaches about 80 Mbit / s towards the subscriber. This news seems to bemeans that MTS is an operator ready for LTE; that means MTS just doesn’t want to lose the ready WiMAX operating area in Moscow for the time that will be needed for conversion and other preparation of ranges for LTE. Judging by the yesterday’s article in the Kommersant newspaper ( September 15 ), MTS and its parent company AFK Sistema will seek half-billion compensation in order to be able to build a new mobile Internet network instead of the one that the SCRC decision will lead to inoperability.

    What is the Russian "competition", everyone has long known: they are held only when the composition of the winners is known in advance. Apparently, this turned out to be the frequency distribution we are considering, because Gazeta.Ru( September 8 ), and Kommersant ( September 9 ), and ComNews ( September 9 ) unanimously report that three single-band networks will go to Skartel, Osnova Telecom, and winners of last year’s frequency contests in 40 regions (Rostelecom ”And Vainakh Telecom), and four dual-band networks will be received by MTS, Beeline, MegaFon and Rostelecom.

    Smaller players (Tele2, TTK, Smarts, etc.) remain out of work. They can hope either for the support of the Federal Antimonopoly Service (of which RBC writes about the possibility ), or for participation in contests in spite of predetermination (Alexey Boyko citeda comment from the Tele2 press service, encouraging with respect to determination), or the triumph of the principle of technological neutrality, that is, the coexistence of GSM and LTE in the same range contrary to the position of the minister (as reported by Gazeta.Ru and Marker ). All these are not reliable levers, they allow pessimistic to assume in advance that Tele2 will not be allowed to LTE in the same way as it was not allowed to 3G. It is regrettable, as I said .

    You can find a complete table of all reallocated ranges on one of the Kommersant’s pages yesterday ( September 15 ).

    As for the retold ComNewsstatements of Naum Marder (“the deputy minister believes that Russia does not need seven LTE networks, but one or two is enough ”), it is appropriate to think that he made this statement in ecstasy (like the old Taseevsky volost clerk ).

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