Georgian mobile operator Mobitel, which provides services under the brand Beeline, has announced the commercial launch of its 4G LTE network. Coverage of the new high speed service is currently available in 30 towns and cities across the country, including the capital Tbilisi, Batumi, Kutaisi, Telavi, Kobuleti, Poti, Zugdidi, Senaki, Rustavi, Gori, Samtredia, Zestafoni and Senaki. Mobitel, which is backed by the Vimpelcom group, states that 4G customers can surf the internet at average downstream speeds of between 10Mbps and 20Mbps. A number of LTE internet tariffs are on offer, ranging in price from GEL1 (USD0.5) for 200MB of data (valid for one day), to GEL15 for an allowance of 5GB (30 days), while the ‘Beeline Mix’ tariff bundles range in price from GEL2 for the daily package of 500MB of data, 50 voice minutes and 500 SMS to GEL20 for 2GB and unlimited calls and SMS.
Last month TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate reported that the Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC) confirmed it had sold a 4G spectrum licence for 2×10MHz blocks in the 800MHz band to Mobitel for around GEL50.782 million. Under the terms of the concession, the cellco is required to provide 4G coverage to 30% of settlements with a population of less than 5,000 by 1 February 2016, with this condition rising to 50% by 1 February 2017, 70% twelve months after that and finally 90% of all settlements with less than 5,000 inhabitants by 1 February 2020.