Russian WiMAX operator Scartel, which operates under the Yota brand, has settled its conflict with Roskomnadzor, the Federal IT and Mass Media Inspection Service over the distribution of fourth-generation network licenses.
The dispute blew up in July last year when the Authority revoked first a licence to operate in the 2.5-2.7GHz range license it had previously issued to Scartel, prompting a lawsuit. In an adept piece of rubber-stamping, the parties agreed to acknowledge that Roskomnadzor's July order was based on "some previous violations of its internal radio frequency allocation procedure," leaving the way free for Yota to reapply for its licence.
Yota has seven days to refile its application, accompanied by an electromagnetic compatibility appraisal report,after which Roskomnadzor will process the new application and make its decision based on that EMC report. This, of course, means that Yota will now get its licence.
The real deal was done last month when Russian Prime Minister Vladamir Putin brokered a deal which will see Scartel provide a 4G wholesale service to the country's major operators: Beeline, Megafon and MTS, as well as Rostelekom, the country's only current LTE licencee.
As part of this deal, Scartel will build out an LTE network and has guaranteed that the national LTE network cover 180 cities with a total population of more than 70 million citizens by 2014. The participating operators will be granted MVNO operations on Yota's LTE deployment and will each be offered the opportunity to acquire up to a 20 percent stake in Yota.
It seems that regulatory authorities are looking favourably on wholesale approaches to LTE as once Yota receives its licence, it will join US startup LightSquared as a provider of wholesale services. The difference between the two could be crucial though, as LightSquared will not be offering retail services, meaning that at no point will it compete with its wholesale customers.
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