Russia’s MTS has launched a 5G pilot network in several locations across Moscow using the 4.9GHz band.
The majority of subscribers with 5G-ready devices are not currently able to connect to the pilot network independently, with MTS confirming that participants will be selected and invited to trial the 5G network based on anonymous data analysis factoring in their location, movement and data consumption.
Users will be invited to connect if they are near one of the 14 pilot locations and if the level of data traffic will support their participation. They will not be charged for data used in the pilot, but their usage will be capped both in terms of speed and volume.
The network uses equipment from Chinese vendor Huawei, and offers speeds of up to 1.5Gbps. The Prime news agency reported that MTS plans to extend the pilot network into the cities of St Petersburg and Yekaterinburg over the course of the year, according to the head of MTS’ St Petersburg division Palev Korotin.
News outlet Vedomosti reports that the State Commission for Radio Frequencies (SCRF) is considering an application to test 3.5GHz 5G network services filed by FreshTel, a unit of Rostelecom. The operator plans to trial the services in metro train stations across Moscow and Kazan.
CommsUpdate notes that FreshTel is one of several companies - along with MegaFon (via Neosprint/Synterra), ER-Telecom (via Prestige Internet) and TransTeleCom (TTK) - that currently hold a regional permit for fixed-wireless 3.5GHz broadband. These permits will expire this month and the SCRF has not yet moved to renew them although it has suggested that an extension is possible.
The spectrum in question has been earmarked to be refarmed for 5G use, with the SCRF noting that while "less than 100,000 subscribers use these frequencies on a regular basis", it is working with the operators on "measures to prevent the disconnection of these subscribers by organising their connection in other ways."
The commission pledged that "subscribers will be disconnected only if there is an alternative way of their access to the internet on terms no worse than those previously provided."