Ukraine’s regulator has issued the country’s three major players with 900MHz licences.
Kyivstar, Lifecell and Vodafone Ukraine have each received a technology-neutral licence from the NCCIR (National Commission for State Regulation of Communications & Informatization), allowing them to begin offering 4G LTE-900 services from 1st July 2020.
Under the terms of the licences, the operators must extend LTE-900 services to all areas of the country with a population of over 2000 people across the next two years. By 2024, their 4G coverage must reach 90% of the country’s population.
The 900MHz frequency was previously used exclusively for GSM services, and each provider held a different amount. Redistributing their respective ranges meant that each operator paid a different fee for their licence, with Kyivstar paying UAH260 million (US$9.33 million), Lifecell UAH121 million, and Vodafone UAH230 million.
Kyivstar is the market leader by subscribers. The operator stated that the new LTE-900 licence would allow it to “begin technical work to launch high speed mobile internet in the remotest corners of Ukraine”, noting that it had returned some of its GSM spectrum to allow equal access to next-generation frequencies for all operators.
In addition to the main three operators, CDMA provider Intertelecom is also looking to obtain an LTE-900 licence. While it missed the initial payment deadline of 10th March, the NCCIR has given it until 1st April to come up with the fee.