beCloud expanding 4G/4G+, plans 5G trial; talks continue with velcom

16 Dec 2016

Belarusian mobile infrastructure operator Belarusian Cloud Technologies (beCloud), which owns a 15-year licence to operate 4G LTE infrastructure in the 1710MHz-1730MHz/1805MHz-1825MHz and 2530MHz-2565MHz/2650MHz-2685MHz bands, has announced the commercial launch of 4G LTE in the regions, with LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) set to follow from 2017. Using equipment supplied by Huawei and Ericsson, fourth-generation technology is now available to users in the regions of Gomel, Brest, Vitebsk, Mogilev and Grodno, while beCloud also notes it has expanded its LTE network coverage in Minsk to take in a number of new suburbs, including: Zhdanovichi, Ratomka Kolodishchi, Senica, Stayki and Tarasova. Meanwhile, from January 2017 the infrastructure provider will have deployed LTE-A in more than thirty regions, including: Borisov, Bobruisk, Molodechno, Baranovichi, Soligorsk, Pinsk, Kobrin, Pruzhany, Lida, Mozyr, Dobrush, Shklov, Orsha, Polotsk, Novopolotsk, Braslav, Lepel, Verhnedvinsk Lida, Dobrush, Kalinkovichi, Mozyr, Bobruisk and Shklov. beCloud says city and regional LTE-base stations will operate in the 1800MHz band, with 2600MHz set to be used for further development of the network. In total, 4G will be available to more than 5.5 million Belarusians, equivalent to 75% of the urban population, and with data traffic growing more than six-fold in 2016, beCloud says that 170,000 subscribers in Minsk have already signed up to 4G.

In a related development, beCloud says it continues negotiations with Telekom Austria Group’s Belarusian cellular subsidiary Mobile Digital Communications (MDC, or velcom as it is more commonly known) regarding a deal to use beCloud’s ‘common’ 4G/4G+ access network. Although the latter is deploying an open access network for use by the country’s three mobile operators, last month velcom said it was ready to launch its own 4G infrastructure and was seeking the requisite permissions to do so.

Finally, beCloud general director Sergei Poblaguev has said that the company is doing all it can to ensure that 5G technology starts being rolled out in Belarus from 2017, and to that end is working with a number of vendors to provide the necessary equipment for initial testing of 5G next year.

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