MTS Ukraine, the second largest mobile operator in the country, announced the commercial launch of 3G UMTS-based services on 13 March 2015, initially based on a national W-CDMA/HSDPA roaming agreement with Ukrtelecom’s cellular division TriMob, providing mobile data speeds at up to 7.2Mbps (download), but promising 3G speeds will reach up to 42Mbps once its own network is launched based on HSPA+ and DC-HSPA+ technology. At launch, MTS Ukraine’s website coverage map promises 3G service in all 24 oblasts (regions) of Ukraine, and all regional centres and large cities/towns within each region via TriMob’s infrastructure. An official launch date for MTS’s own 3G UMTS network has not yet been announced. MTS already offered 3G data-only services in cities across Ukraine via a CDMA-450 network, separate from its GSM/GPRS/EDGE 2.5G voice/data network.
MTS Ukraine is initially offering 3G UMTS access to its ‘Smartphone’ and ‘Tablet’ package users, plus a premium ‘Ultra VIP 3G’ package. According to its website, it is charging UAH90 (USD4.10) per month to add ‘3G Unlimited’ (unlimited 3G internet usage for 30 days) services to a Smartphone voice/data package, while subscribers to a Tablet package can take up the 3G Unlimited add-on for a lower price of UAH70. Maximum speeds of 7.2Mbps are currently promised on the 3G Unlimited tariff but after using 2.5GB data within 30 days the maximum speed is throttled to 150kbps for the remainder of the monthly period. Ultra VIP 3G subscribers pay UAH949 per month for a comprehensive package including unlimited 3G internet usage and calls/messaging within Ukraine. MTS Ukraine’s marketing director Oleg Reshetin stated that those subscribing to one of the three available UMTS package options ‘will be ready for even higher speeds on the best frequencies that we can provide in our own 3G network.’
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, on 23 February 2015 Ukraine’s long-awaited auction for three 15-year nationwide 2100MHz mobile operating licences raised a total of UAH8.770 billion, with all three existing Ukrainian GSM network operators gaining a 2×15MHz concession, namely Kyivstar, MTS and Astelit (life:)), allowing them to compete on an even playing field with the country’s sole existing UMTS network operator, Ukrtelecom (TriMob). Similar to MTS’s new roaming-based UMTS access deal with TriMob, larger rival Kyivstar has offered 3G data services via roaming on the latter’s network since 2008, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database.