MTS launches phase two of 4G rollout, with plans for LTE-A

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MTS will bring dual and tri-band carrier aggregation to Russia by the end of this year, with plans to also launch LTE in 19 regions on the 1800MHz band in 2015.

The Russian operator announced the next stage of its LTE network development today, signing equipment deals with Nokia, Huawei, Ericsson and Samsung as part of the RUB10 billion (€163.2 million) project that aims to bring "neutrality" to its infrastructure.

MTS said deploying LTE using the 1800MHz band is quicker and more efficient than higher frequencies. It covers four times the area of spectrum in the 2500-2700MHz range and can punch further indoors.

The operator said it was planning to aggregate the 1800MHz and 2.6GHz bands, as well as 800MHz and 2.6GHz across Russia. It added it would roll out tri-band aggregation, across the 800MHz, 1800Mhz and 2.6GHz bands, in the north west of the country, which includes Saint Petersburg and Leningrad, later this year.

Elsewhere, MTS will also modernise its existing GSM networks, installing Single RAN platforms that will allow it to offer GSM, 3G and LTE from a single base station.

Andrei Ushatskiy, MTS Vice President, Technology and IT, said: “The introduction of tech neutrality allows us to use frequency resources more efficiently to increase data transmission speeds. This allows us to roll-out LTE networks within a shorter timeframe and reduce overall LTE capex.

"For instance, 1800+2600 MHz carrier aggregation, provided each of the bands has a bandwidth of at least 10 MHz, allows us to increase the peak data transmission speed from 75 Mb/s to 150 Mb/s. In the case of tri-band carrier aggregation, network speeds reach 225 Mb/s. In April 2015, MTS carried out carrier aggregation tests in Bashkiria on 1800+2600+800 MHz frequencies with a combined bandwidth of up to 35 MHz, which demonstrated peak speeds of up to 260 Mb/s.”