MTS Ukraine launches CDMA-450 EV-DO services

17 Oct 2007

MTS Ukraine (formerly UMC) has launched commercial CDMA2000 1xEV-DO Rev. A wireless internet and data services in Kiev and surrounding areas including: Kiev-Borispol, Koncha-Zaspa, Irpen, Bucha, Toompea, Podgortsy and Belogorodka. The new 450MHz 3G network has the capability to provide maximum data transmission speeds of 3.1Mbps (download) and 1.8Mbps (upload), and enables access to mobile high speed internet and other data services. Director General of MTS Ukraine Paul Pawlowski said at the launch on Monday: ‘We plan to rapidly expand the network coverage, and [will provide] wireless internet access in all major cities of Ukraine.’ By the end of 2007 the cellco aims to expand the EV-DO network to Kharkiv, Donetsk, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozhye, Odessa and Lviv, and in 2008 it is scheduled to launch the service in all regional centres, in the Crimea and in the major resorts in the Carpathians. MTS also announced that it will offer various tariff plans tailored to the needs of different subscriber groups. Network design, planning, implementation, operation, maintenance and staff training for the CDMA-450 network was provided by Alcatel-Lucent.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database notes that MTS and three rival cellcos, Kyivstar, Astelit (life:))and URS (Beeline), have repeatedly had their requests for 3G W-CDMA concessions turned down; Ukraine’s only UMTS licensee, state-run fixed line incumbent Ukrtelecom, received its permit without auction in late 2005. Alternative 3G services are offered by WiLL network operators, including Telesystems (PEOPLEnet) which launched commercial EV-DO services in February 2007 in Kiev and other major cities. CDMA data services are popular with corporate users, and MTS has announced plans to target businesses with fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) services, enabling fixed line and mobile calls on a single handset. MTS Ukraine lost 30,000 GSM subscribers during September 2007 to end the month with 19.91 million customers (up by 3.55 million year-on-year); it is second in the GSM market behind Kyivstar.

GlobalComms says that Ukrainian Mobile Communications (UMC, now MTS) paid UAH94 million (USD19 million) for a CDMA 450MHz concession for data-only services in July 2006, and bought a CDMA-450 voice telephony licence for UAH9 million (USD1.9 million) the following September. It announced plans to provide wireless internet access and data transfer services to cities with over a million inhabitants, and made the decision to shut down an outdated NMT 450MHz network to free up spectrum. In October 2006 it began a tender for the supply of CDMA equipment for a first phase rollout of 70 base stations in major cities, including Kiev, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Odessa and Kharkiv; the tender was won by Alcatel-Lucent and Kvazar-Micro. Alcatel-Lucent provided its CDMA Modular Cell 4.0 Compact base stations, designed for the 450MHz spectrum band, and CDMA2000 1xEV-DO radio network controllers. The Alcatel-Lucent 7450 Ethernet service switch (ESS) was also deployed as a multi-layer switch. Kvazar-Micro took responsibility for overall network integration.

Ukraine, MTS Ukraine (formerly UMC),

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