Ukrainian mobile operators Lifecell and Vodafone Ukraine announced launching the country’s first 4G LTE mobile services on 30 March 2018, the same day as the Ukrainian State Centre of Radio Frequencies (UCRF) officially issued permits for 2600MHz LTE. The pair won their 2600MHz spectrum on 31 January alongside larger rival Kyivstar, which is expected to launch its own LTE-2600 network within days.
Lifecell highlighted that it has introduced LTE coverage in Kiev and over 20 regional centres across Ukraine (eight of which were exclusive launch locations, its press release added), under the ‘4.5G’ banner, with services free for a week as an initial promotion (and charged at the same rates as 3G thereafter). The company, part of the Turkcell group, noted that 49% of smartphones on the Lifecell network support LTE technology.
Vodafone Ukraine (owned by MTS of Russia) has switched on LTE-2600 services in Kiev and 13 regional centres including Odessa, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Lviv and others, plus several other cities. Kyivstar expects to launch LTE in the 2600MHz band by 10 April, company president Peter Chernyshov said in an online post.
All three Ukrainian operators expect to gain permission to add commercial LTE 1800MHz services to their networks this July, following the trio’s 1800MHz licence awards in March.