Russia's Yota may not have permission to roll out LTE instead of WiMAX

Russian WiMAX operator Yota, which last week announced plans to deploy LTE instead of WiMAX in 15 Russian cities by the end of 2011, may be banned from deploying the technology under its existing license.

The Russian telecoms regulator Roskomnadzor is believed to have said that Yota's license was issued for the provision of WiMAX services only. However, Igor Torgov, MD of Scartel--and owner of Yota--told a local news agency that the license did not include an exact definition of what technology Yota is required to use.

Yota intends to spend $100 million this year on the rollout of LTE networks in five Russian cities, with total investment expected to reach $2 billion. The company is also thought to have ordered 1,000 LTE base stations from unnamed suppliers.

Yota's move combined with Clearwire's increasing interest in LTE has raised questions about the long-term future of WiMAX since TD-LTE can be deployed in the same spectrum WiMAX operates in. Intel claims that LTE will not become mature enough for commercial operations until 2015 at the earliest, and WiMAX will witness continued good prospects in the global market. It's unclear whether Yota will deploy TD-LTE or the FDD version.

Intel's architecture group vice president and WiMAX program office general manager, Sriram Viswanathan, however, indicated an interest in developing handset chipsets for 3G and LTE, as well as WiMAX. He also reaffirmed the commitment made in 2008 with the Taiwanese government to jointly boost its WiMAX system integration joint venture.

For more:
- see this TeleGeography article
- read this DigiTimes article

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