Russian telecoms regulator Roskomnadzor is set to take action against Chechnyan mobile operator Vainakh Telecom after the cellco launched commercial Long Term Evolution (LTE) services in Grozny, the capital city of the Chechen Republic, earlier this week. Russian website Izvestia.ru reports that the watchdog’s objections are based on the fact that the equipment used for the 4G deployment has not been certified in Russia – a key clause attached to the company’s frequency concessions.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Vainakh was founded in 2003 to promote telecommunications services in the war-torn Republic, before going on to launch in May 2009. In March 2010, in a spectrum auction held by the Ministry of Communications (MinSvyaz), Vainakh purchased 30MHz of 2.3GHz-2.4GHz frequencies covering Chechnya. Under the conditions of the licence, the operator was given 18 months (later extended) to build and launch a 4G network using Russian-made equipment, or risk surrendering its concessions. In October 2011 Vainakh confirmed that it had received belated regulatory permission to launch a trial LTE network in the region, but little has been publicised about the company’s subsequent activities.