Ukraine’s third largest mobile operator Astelit (life:)) yesterday announced the commercial launch of its 3G W-CDMA/HSPA+ network, initially in the city of Lviv. Subscribers to the new tariff ‘3G+ Smartphone’ pay UAH89 (USD4.03) for 30 days, while the company’s press release claims that its technology can support maximum data speed ‘up to 63.3Mbps’ for watching high speed streaming videos, dynamically transmitting heavy files, downloading video and making video calls. Erdal Yayla, acting life:) CEO commented: ‘Commercial launch of the 3G network is extremely important for us. This is the event, so long awaited by all Ukrainian mobile communication subscribers, society and the whole Ukraine.’
Astelit’s larger two GSM mobile rivals, Kyivstar and MTS Ukraine, are currently offering 3G UMTS network services in a free test mode in selected locations, ahead of their imminent commercial network launches. Via a tie-up with existing 3G operator Ukrtelecom (TriMob), since March MTS has also been offering a roaming-based UMTS service in over 50 cities – at the same tariff as will be provided once its own HSPA+ network is launched – and this week MTS disclosed on its website that the roaming service attracted more than 180,000 users during April, using around 150TB of traffic; on average each 3G subscriber used within a month the amount of traffic that 2G subscribers use in six months. Up until the end of May passengers on the Kharkiv subway can use MTS Ukraine’s own HSPA+ network in free test mode, it added in a press release. As previously reported by CommsUpdate, Kyivstar disclosed in March that its existing 3G data-only roaming service on the TriMob network had only 25,000 users.