MegaFon, Huawei announce plans to deploy 5G network in Russia by 2018

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MegaFon and Huawei are to fast-track the rollout of a 5G network in Russia in time for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. 

The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MoA) in which they agreed to co-develop and deploy a next-generation communications network, which MegaFon said would be tested during the run-up to the quadrennial football event. 

If successful, Huawei and MegaFon will have established a 5G network two years ahead of the technology’s widely-forecast arrival date of 2020. 

MegaFon explained that by being directly involved with the rollout of a 5G network in Russia, it could develop a standard for the technology that was reflective of the technical requirements of both the region’s telco market and physical landscape. 

Mikhail Dubin, Executive Director of Consumer Business at MegaFon, commented: “MegaFon’s strategic priority is technological leadership, so we will continue develop and roll out new technologies to provide the best quality for our customers. Thanks to our agreements, Russia will be some of the first countries to enjoy next generation mobile telecommunications.” 

Ryan Ding, President of Huawei Products and Solutions, said the 2018 World Cup would “provide a unique platform” to demonstrate its leadership in 5G development.

He commented: “The communication boundaries between humans and machines shall be broken by 5G. With the support of MegaFon, we are confident of turning a science-fiction-like service into 5G reality for citizens in Russia and soccer fans around the world, two years ahead of the industry’s estimated 5G introduction date of 2020.”

Huawei also announced an MoU with SingTel as part of a joint 5G innovation programme in which the two companies will establish a research hub for the technology.

It said the commercial operation of 5G telecom services is estimated to provide 1,000 times more capacity than current mobile broadband networks.

The announcement follows the China-based vendor’s investment earlier this month in the University of Surrey 5G Innovation Centre in the UK.

In August, it announced it was setting up South Korea-based 5G research centre in partnership with LG Uplus.

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