Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), Russia’s second largest cellco by subscribers, has announced on its website that LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) networks based on dual- and tri-band carrier aggregation (CA) technology will be expanded to 15 Russian regions by the end of 2015. Having recently signed new contracts with at least four key vendors for the delivery of multi-band LTE equipment, MTS also disclosed that it will expand LTE-1800 networks under technology-neutral licensing across 19 Russian regions by the end of the year.
Andrei Ushatskiy, MTS vice president of technology, noted that 1800+2600MHz CA (with at least 10MHz in each band) enables an increase in peak LTE data transmission speed from 75Mbps to 150Mbps, while tri-band CA allows network speeds to reach 225Mbps; in April 2015 MTS tested CA on 1800+2600+800MHz frequencies, demonstrating peak speeds of up to 260Mbps. Under the company’s rollout strategy, dual-band networks – 1800+2600MHz or 800+2600MHz depending on frequency availability in each region – will account for the majority of base stations nationally.
MTS has recently signed contracts for equipment with suppliers including Nokia, Huawei, Ericsson and Samsung, with initial investment in the project exceeding RUB10 billion (USD185 million).
Currently, MTS operates LTE-A networks in Moscow and Bashkiria, while following the introduction of tech-neutrality in 2014 it began using existing GSM-1800 infrastructure for the LTE standard, and has so far refarmed 1800MHz frequencies in the Moscow, Bashkiria, Saint Petersburg, Leningrad and Krasnodar regions. Overall, MTS operates LTE networks in 77 of 85 Russian regions.