Kazakhstan has witnessed the launch of a live pilot LTE network by VimpelCom. The Russian operator claims that the network is “the first live 700MHz LTE market pilot in post-Soviet territory."
The new network is set to be deployed across several districts in central Almaty, which remains Kazakhstan’s key commercial centre despite losing its status as the capital city in 1997.
One of Kazakhstan’s leading mobile brands, Beeline, is owned by VimpelCom. The Russian firm has partnered with Alcatel-Lucent for this deployment, and the two companies began testing LTE in Kazakhstan in spring this year.
The two firms have claimed that a 700MHZ rollout will allow for extensive, reliable network coverage; in turn, this will facilitate the deployment of multimedia services such as music downloads, online multiplayer gaming and high-definition video.
Central Asia has proved to be key territory for testing LTE, particularly for Eastern European operators, with VimpelCom VP Dmitry Kromsky noting: “Kazakhstan's experience will be used for 4G implementation in other areas where VimpelCom is present.”
Uzbekistan in particular has become the world’s first country to host two fully operational competing LTE networks, operated by MTS and Ucell.