Russia to reallocate mmWave for 5G as MTS signs up to JV

Russia to reallocate mmWave for 5G as MTS signs up to JV

Russia’s State Commission for Radio Frequencies (SCRF) has agreed to repurpose millimetre wave (mmWave) frequencies for 5G access networks.

The 24.25GHz-27.5GHz band is currently used for radio relay stations, but TelecomDaily reports that the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications & Mass Media now plans to update the national frequency table to reflect the resolution. An additional resolution cleared proposals to use the 4GHz band for public wireless services as a means of facilitating 5G network deployment. The initiatives are expected to come into effect from 2023.

TeleGeography reports that in July 2020, market leader MTS was issued a nationwide 5G mmWave licence in the 24.25GHz-24.65GHz band with a five-year validity period. However, the operator has stated that its ability to offer services using the band will likely be restricted by a Ministry edict that all 5G deployments must use Russian-made equipment.

Perhaps as a means of broadening its options, MTS has after some delay chosen to take a 25% equity stake in New Digital Solutions, a 5G joint venture in which its rivals MegaFon, Rostelecom and Vimpelcom also each hold a 25% stake. As reported by Interfax, New Digital Solutions was formed in 2018 by MegaFon and Rostelecom, with Vimpelcom’s Beeline signing up to the venture in 2021.

One of the goals of New Digital Solutions is to enact measures aimed at releasing spectrum currently in use for other applications – including in the 694MHz-790MHz, 3.4GHz-3.8GHz, 4.4GHz-4.99GHz and the aforementioned 24.25GHz-29.5GHz bands. In November 2021, the SCRF granted the joint venture a two-year permit for spectrum in the 4400MHz-4990MHz band to conduct 5G trials, while MTS, MegaFon, Rostelecom and Beeline all hold 5G trial permits in the 25.25GHz-27.5GHz range.

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