Yota shuts LTE network after 3 days

Having gained worldwide celebrity for its decision to dump WiMAX in favour of LTE, the Russian operator Yota has switched off its first LTE network just three days after its launch in Kazan.

The company, which is owned by Scartel, said that it had been forced to disable the LTE service due to urgent engineering work, but failed to reveal any details as to the problem or when the network might become available.

A possible clue as to the 'engineering' problem came with the company saying it expected to start running a test network and commercial service when the Russian telecoms regulator allowed it.

The company has a track record of misunderstandings with the country's regulator, Roskomnadzor, after being banned from using its WiMAX licence to offer LTE services. Roskomnadzor later reversed this decision.

Last month, the regulator intervened again and stopped Yota from using frequencies in the 2.5GHz-2.7GHz band, claiming that the operator had made unspecified 'violations of the law'.

The company is reported to have installed nearly 150 LTE base stations at an estimated Capex of around US$20 million. While the company initially said it planned to roll out LTE in five cities in Russia this year, this latest problem might call for the deployment schedule to be reviewed.

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