Kazakh mobile operator K’cell will be allocated spectrum for 4G LTE services this year, while the country’s other operators are also thought to be in line for new spectrum. According to a report from StockMarketWire, K’cell has been told it can pay KZT22 billion (USD80 million) for 2×10MHz in the 700MHz band, with KZT10 billion due by 1 March 2016 and the remainder to be paid by the end of the year. The TeliaSonera subsidiary can also buy 2×10MHz of frequencies in the 1800MHz band for KZT4 billion, the report suggests, with payment due by 1 February. Although it has not been confirmed, it is thought that other Kazakh operators – Beeline, Tele2 and Altel – are also in line for frequencies.
Altel is the only local operator to have launched 4G commercially, switching on an 1800MHz system in December 2012 to replace its legacy CDMA infrastructure. Towards the end of 2015 the government announced that new technology neutrality rules had come into force that would allow cellcos to utilise all their existing spectrum holdings for 2G, 3G or 4G services.
Separately, the government has announced that Kazakhtelecom (KT), the country’s dominant fixed line operator and owner of the Altel network, is among 65 state-backed firms in line for privatisation over the next four years. KT is currently 51% state-owned via the Samruk-Kazyna Fund of National Prosperity. The sale is likely to take place via a public share offer, Reuters reports, though further details have yet to be finalised.