According to TeleGeography Belarusian communications and IT minister Nikolai Pantelei says that the country will begin testing fourth-generation LTE Advanced (LTE-A) services in 2013, BelTA reports. The trials will be carried out by domestic mobile operator MTS Belarus, a joint venture between the government and Russian powerhouse Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), and Belarusian cloud technology firm becloud.
The announcement comes in the wake of a statement last month from both companies which said that they were discussing a joint LTE development plan. At the time, TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate quoted MTS Director General Vladimir Karpovich as saying that he believes there will be high demand for LTE services in Belarus. He also went on to discuss the cellco’s current 3G coverage in rural areas. ‘The technology that uses 2100MHz is not ideal for the full coverage of rural areas. The technologies that use lower frequencies are optimal for this,’ he pointed out. Specifically, Karpovich considers the so-called ‘digital dividend’ will be crucial in this regard, once the frequencies that are currently being used for analogue TV services are phased out.
The LTE-A testing will begin later this year, Pantelei said, noting that ‘organisational matters’ for the trials are currently being finalised, including electromagnetic compatibility tests. ‘The creation of an LTE-A network in Belarus is a relevant idea but it requires thinking about because the project involves a lot,’ the minister said, adding: ‘it is necessary to calculate everything thoroughly for the project to justify the hopes attached to it.’ LTE-A technology can theoretically deliver maximum data transmission speeds of 1Gbps.
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