Russia's MTS launches LTE on 800-MHz band in Moscow

Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) has launched an LTE network on the 800 MHz frequency band throughout the Moscow region, enabling it to expand coverage to 300 "population centres" and on suburban roads.

This means the company now operates LTE networks in three different frequency bands in the Moscow region: MTS launched LTE on the 1800 MHz band on Jan. 1 this year and has also operated a network on the 2.6 GHz band over the past year. According to Kirill Dmitriev, MTS director of macro-region Moscow, the number of LTE network users in the Moscow metropolitan area has increased four times to over 1 million since the beginning of 2014.

The company, which provides mobile and fixed communications, said the LTE 800 MHz network complements its existing LTE networks in Moscow and is used primarily for 4G services in areas with frequency bandwidth restrictions and to provide higher-quality coverage of roads and towns in the region.

MTS added that the network in the lower-frequency band enables four times greater coverage than "traditional" LTE 2600 MHz technology.

"The Moscow region is strategically important for MTS. We are actively investing in the development of the communications infrastructure in this crucial market…Today, there are only a few cities the size and scope of Moscow in the world that have LTE networks comparable to ours in terms of number of operated frequency bands," said Andrei Ushatskiy, MTS vice president, CTO and CIO.

Ushatskiy noted that the volume of LTE traffic generated by MTS subscribers has increased 10 times over the last year, with over half of smartphone data traffic in the region generated by LTE network users in early 2015.

Dmitriev added that customers increasingly are shifting their usage habits to more data-intensive activities: "Today, two-thirds of new MTS subscribers choose bundled voice and data tariffs or special data options for Internet access," he said.

In December last year, MTS also teamed up with rival VimpelCom to jointly roll out and utilise LTE networks in 36 Russian regions in order to reduce the costs of deploying networks in areas previously deemed unattractive from a commercial standpoint. Under the terms of the agreement, MTS will develop shared mobile data networks in 19 regions in Russia between 2014 and 2016, while VimpelCom will construct networks in 17 regions.

At the time, MTS president and CEO Andrei Dubovskov said the partnership between MTS and VimpelCom set a precedent for sharing active network infrastructure in Russia.

For more:
- see this MTS release

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