Russia's major mobile operators join hands for unified LTE rollout

Darren Murph
D. Murph|03.05.11

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Russia's major mobile operators join hands for unified LTE rollout
Ringo and co. said it best, and now Beeline, Megafon, MTS and Rostelekom are getting a little help from their friends. Er, friend. Or maybe it's the other way around? At any rate, the first four have just signed a deal with Yota to build out a nationwide LTE network that'll work across the board. Rather than forcing each operator to do their own thing, the four in question will now have the option to buy 25 percent stakes in Yota; according to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, this unified effort will enable Russia's economy to reap the benefits of a widespread 4G network while other nations (ahem, America) fight to see whether it'll be WiMAX or LTE taking the lead. If you'll recall, Yota was actually one of the first carriers on the planet to serve up commercial 4G, but last year it decided to make the switch from WiMAX to the suddenly popular LTE. The goal here is to have LTE in 180 cities with a total population of more than 70 million citizens by 2014, and we're told that those situated on Little Diomede may actually be the first to get LTE in Alaska. Kidding. Maybe.
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Russia Takes 4G Lead With Strategic Approach to Nationwide Infrastructure Build
- Rival Operators Buy-Into Yota's Vision of the Future of Telecoms

Press Release Source: Yota On Thursday March 3, 2011, 1:09 pm EST

MOSCOW, March 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Yota, the Russian mobile broadband company, has today signed a deal with the country's main network operators that will place Russia at the forefront of the development of 4G telecoms services.

The deal will see Yota become the 4G network provider for the Russian telecoms market and guarantee the roll-out of its LTE network to cover 180 cities with a total population of more than 70 million citizens by 2014.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin witnessed the signing of this landmark agreement by the heads of the leading Russian telecoms operators at Yota's Moscow office.

The agreement will see the country's major network operators - Beeline, Megafon, MTS and Rostelekom - working with Yota to offer 4G services over its network. The deal provides each of the participants with an option to buy shares in Yota in 2014 and sees the realization of Yota's vision of the future of telecoms: the ability to offer open infrastructure to competing service providers.

State corporation Russian Technologies supported the agreement in a bid to ensure an efficient and collaborative approach to rolling-out 4G services. The deal is a major boost to the Russian economy; businesses will avoid costly duplication of infrastructure investment and millions of Russian consumers will benefit from faster access to 4G services and lower prices.

In just three years, Yota has gone from being a start-up company to become a leading visionary in the telecoms sector. This new arrangement places Yota at the heart of Russia's 4G strategy and provides a model for the industry that can be rolled-out across the world.

Yota CEO Dennis Sverdlov comments, "This deal is an endorsement of our vision for the future of the telecoms industry. We firmly believe in the separation of network ownership and service provision and believe that this ground-breaking agreement will drive innovation and benefit Russian consumers. Even more importantly, we believe that Yota can help all operators across the world to take advantage of the massive opportunity that 4G brings."
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