Lifecell joins Ukraine 4G deal while Intertelecom cuts service

Lifecell joins Ukraine 4G deal while Intertelecom cuts service

Ukrainian number three Lifecell has confirmed that it will join the 4G infrastructure sharing arrangement signed in July by its larger rivals Kyivstar and Vodafone Ukraine.

The agreement will see the three operators share passive and active infrastructure such as base stations and communications channels, reports TeleGeography. It is aimed at speeding up the deployment of 4G services in Ukraine’s more remote regions.

After receiving LTE-900 licences that came into effect at the start of July, Ukraine’s operators are deploying 4G services over 900MHz spectrum to complement their LTE-1800/2600 networks.

In mid-July Kyivstar and Vodafone Ukraine formed an infrastructure sharing arrangement and invited other operators to participate. While government approvals will be required, they expect to implement the initiative before the end of the year.

While 4G plans are underway for Ukraine’s three largest operators, CDMA provider Intertelecom has had to shelve its LTE expansion plans and roll back coverage, citing inadequate funds.

In a statement on its website, the operator said that “general economic instability” had been exacerbated by “the protracted situation with quarantine restrictions and the further spread of the COVID-19 pandemic”, with the result that it could not arrange financing for an LTE licence.

The operator had its LTE licence revoked in April 2020 by the NCCIR (National Commission for State Regulation of Communications & Informatization) after it failed to pay the relevant fees, although it is awaiting a final verdict on this ruling.

In the meantime, Intertelecom is relinquishing some of its CDMA spectrum and narrowing its focus to areas with larger populations. It confirmed that it would reduce its coverage in nine regions.

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