A report from online news portal IT.TUT.BY says that Belarusian cellco Mobile Digital Communications (Velcom) has become the first player to launch data transmission services using UMTS-900 technology. The report says that Velcom, a fully consolidated unit of Telekom Austria Group, switched on its first 3G base stations in the 900MHz band in Dzerzhinsk on 1 February 2016, expanding coverage and improving the quality of its 3G internet services in the areas served. A spokesperson for the cellco says that the decision to launch UMTS-900 in a small town was taken because it believes the deployment of 900MHz technology will prove the most beneficial in the regions, especially in suburban and rural areas. At launch, Velcom has installed just five 3G base transceiver stations (BTS) in the lower band in the city of Dzerzhinsk, covering more than 50% of the Dzerzhinsky district, and in future it intends to roll out UMTS-900 along Belarus’ major highways, Brest and Gomel oblasts and Minsk. Using the lower band alongside its existing 2100MHz 3G network, Velcom aims to double its overall coverage from the current level of 46.3% to 97.0% by the end of this year.
Belarusian cellcos Velcom and MTS Belarus were given permission to use the 900MHz band for UMTS by the State Commission for Radio Frequencies at the end of last year.