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(English) Government and telcos debate plans for 5G network development

01 февраля 2020

(English)

The Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media is said to oppose a plan proposed by this country’s largest telecom companies (MTS, MegaFon, VimpelCom, and Rostelecom) to establish a joint venture for developing Russia’s fifth-generation mobile network (5G), the US-Russia Business Council reported, citing the Russian business daily RBC.

According to the plan, the telecom companies would allocate certain frequency ranges to the JV to be used for 5G, while the government would provide additional frequencies without auction. The JV would then distribute the frequencies among its participants.

The Ministry’s alternate plan envisions the creation of a “5G infrastructure operator”, to which the government would allocate frequencies for their subsequent distribution among all interested 5G providers. Under the Ministry’s plan, most frequency ranges would be obtained through their conversion from defense to civilian use and redistribution of certain broadcast frequencies.

The Ministry has argued that its plan would support competition among 5G providers, significantly reduce their costs, and accelerate the development of 5G networks. However, some telecom companies have warned that the Ministry’s plan could lead to a shortage of frequencies and delay the development of 5G and the implementation of digitalization programs in Russian industries.

The Ministry will continue discussions on 5G development with telecom industry representatives in the coming months.

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