Smaller operators being shunned by Russian LTE consortium?

Allegations that smaller market players are being overlooked by Russia’s LTE network-sharing consortium are being investigated by the country’s antitrust regulator, the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS).

The alliance has reportedly failed to respond to membership requests by three operators – Smarts, TTK and Tele2 Russia – all of which are dwarfed by the group’s founding members, MTS, MegaFon, Rostelecom and VimpelCom.

National broadband provider Rostelecom holds the responsibility for choosing partners for the alliance, which was formed in March this year. While theoretically the consortium can reject any application, in practice there should be valid reasons for doing so.

As part of the consortium, operators will be able to reach over 70 million Russian customers across 180 cities via infrastructure deployed by Yota, a former WiMAX provider. The network build-out is scheduled for completion by 2014.

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