“Lost a planet Master Obi-Wan has. How embarrassing.”
Yota, the Russian mobile broadband operator, has switched on its first LTE network in the Russian city of Kazan. It is thought to be the country’s first live LTE network.
The firm said today that the trial network is up-and-running. Yota says it has invested US$20 million in building the Kazan network, which covers the city’s population of more than 1 million people with 147 base stations.
Kazan is Russia’s third-largest city and the capital of the Tatarstan region. MegaFon – Russia’s third-largest mobile operator – has also earmarked Kazan as the location of its first LTE network and is expected to launch services soon.
Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) is the largest mobile operator in Russia and CIS, with over 91.33 million subscribers as of July 31, 2008, according to Wikipedia.
Yota entered the Russian market in June 2009. The company won 600,000 customers in a year and its WiMAX was expected in five of Russia’s main cities – Moscow, St. Petersburg, Ufa, Krasnodar and Sochi – which have a total population of 25 million.
Yota’s new LTE network was constructed in just two months. Yota announced in May that it was switching from WiMAX to LTE and planning to invest around US$100 million rolling-out LTE networks in the five Russian cities this year.
Today’s launch suggests that Yota has been allowed to launch LTE-based services using its current license.
Samsung provides WiMAX base stations to Yota in Nicaragua and Belarus. Samsung’s U-RAS Flexible base stations can be used as a common platform for Mobile WiMAX (802.16e), Mobile WiMAX 2 (802.16m), as well as both FDD-LTE and TD-LTE deployments. Clearwire also deploys Samsung base stations.
Launched in 2007, Yota has almost 600,000 customers in Russia and is also active in several other countries, including Belarus, Peru and Nicaragua. Skartel, the company operating under the Yota trademark, has already announced plans to create its own LTE smartphone. Yota recently opened an office in London and is entering foreign markets.
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