Russian Telecommunications Readies for Olympics

Reuters reports that Russia’s second-biggest mobile phone operator, Megafon, said on Monday it had signed a deal with Apple and resumed selling iPhones after a four-year break.

Megafon has not been able to sell iPhones since 2009 as the company and its rivals could not guarantee the sales volumes demanded by Apple, industry sources had said. The new three-year deal with Apple will include various iPhone models.

Also today, Apple announced financial results for its fiscal quarter ending December 28, 2013. The company sold 51 million iPhones, 26 million iPads, and 4.8 million Macs, all up from a year ago.

Earlier Vimpelcom (Beeline), the 3rd largest Russian mobile carrier, signed a new deal in October with Apple to sell the iPhone 5s and 5c, making it the first Russian carrier to do so.

Russian market leader Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) still buys the smartphones from distributors.

Apple has a 20 percent share of a $6.50 billion Russian smartphone market in money terms, or 9 percent of units sold in 2013, according to cellphone retailer Euroset, Russia’s largest mobile phone retailer, with over 5,000 stores across Russia.

MTS says its network modernization in Sochi and Krasnodar Krai was completed in 2013, with network capacity doubled and mobile Internet speeds in the cities reaching 42MB/s. It uses LTE gear from Ericsson, Samsung and Nokia Siemens. Ericsson will deploy LTE in four regions covering more than half of Russia, thus becoming MTS’s main vendor. Ericsson will supply 10,000 base stations from the RBS 6000 series.

On 9 October, 2012, Russian carrier Yota, a Russian mobile broadband services provider, launched the first-ever commercial mobile implementation of LTE, at 11 of its base-stations around Moscow. It was one of the first to switch from WiMax to LTE. However compatible handsets weren’t available until the first-half of 2013. Yota is building out its LTE network in 180 cities and is expected to cover 70 million people, around half the country’s population.

Telecommunications in Russia is getting ready for The 2014 Winter Olympics, held in Sochi, February 7-23. It is expected to cost US$51 billion, the most expensive Olympics in history.

There will be free Wi-Fi access at all the competition venues for the first time in Olympic history, as well as in the media centers and media hotels. Russia is expected to monitor ‘all communications’ at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

The main role in providing security for the Olympics was handed over to the country’s Federal Security Service (FSB). Rostelecom is installing DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) systems, on all its mobile networks and there are more than 5500 videocameras in Sochi installed because of the surveillance project.

For the Winter Olympics, eleven venues are grouped together in two clusters: the Coastal Cluster by the Black Sea and the Mountain Cluster in the Krasnaya Polyana Mountains, roughly 30 miles away. The 62,000sqm International Broadcast Center is in the Coastal Cluster.

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Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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