The Big Three mobile operators (Kyivstar, Vodafone Ukraine and lifecell) have declared the Ukrainian subsidiary of the Chinese company Huawei the winner of the tender to find a contractor for the construction of a 4G network in Kyiv Metropoliten. “The contractor has been defined, it is Huawei. And we are awaiting the start of construction. The works are funded by the three mobile operators,” Kyivstar’s press service told Interfax-Ukraine.
At the same time, the press services of the operators refused to name the cost of work.
In October 2018, the Big Three operators began an independent tender for the supply of equipment and technical work on the transition to the 4G standard in the Kyiv subway.
The Kyivstar mobile communications operator plans in 2019 to expand the 4G (LTE) mobile communication network, covering the territory of Ukraine where 75% of Ukrainian population lives, President of Kyivstar Alexander Komarov told reporters in Lviv on Saturday. “We invest a lot in expanding coverage, but we invest even more in coverage capacity in order to support the growing consumption trend,” he said.
Komarov recalled that in 2018, Kyivstar invested UAH 8.3 billion in the purchase of new frequencies and the construction of a network. “We covered 68% of the population in a year with LTE services. Our goal is 75% of the LTE population this year,” he said. The president of Kyivstar also said that in Lviv, the operator had begun a program on placing micro-sites (base towers) on city lighting and electric transport pylons in order to improve network coverage and capacity. “It is very modern and incredibly efficient. We still have problems with radiophobia and access to infrastructure, and such a solution plan with the support of the city and region helps us to solve fundamental problems of infrastructure development. We can build better coverage. We more often do not face homeowner associations, permissions,” he said.
Komarov said that the situation when the operator actually deals with one or two counterparties allows it to develop the network quickly, without spending a lot of time on negotiating documents or disputes on the placement of towers.
“No 5G revolution is possible without such solutions, because the development of 5G communication is an explosive growth in the number of micro-sites, especially in the heavily built-up areas,” Komarov said.
According to him, Kyivstar plans to scale the experience of placing microsites in Lviv and other areas, thereby solving the problem of access to urban infrastructure.
“In some areas, we are confronted with opposing phenomena – when, despite the actual availability of the law on access to infrastructure, it is still not implemented, operators cannot obtain permission to locate base towers in urban infrastructure,” Komarov said.
According to him, such illegal actions on the part of a number of public utilities and state-owned enterprises significantly hamper the development of the operators’ networks.
The Kyivstar mobile communications operator in January-March 2019 connected 968 localities in 24 regions of Ukraine to the 4G communications (LTE) network, the press service of the company has told Interfax-Ukraine.
“In the first quarter of 2019, Kyivstar connected 968 localities to the 4G communications network, connecting 10 new localities per day. This happened in all regions,” the company said.
According to Kyivstar’s press service, today the operator’s 4G communications network is available in 4,587 localities in the territory where 24.1 million people live (58% of the population of Ukraine).
At the same time, 43% of all mobile data traffic of Kyivstar is generated in the 4G network.
In March 2019, Kyivstar subscribers used the volume of mobile Internet equal to the consumption for the entire 2016 (40 petabytes).
In the first quarter, most of all localities in Ivano-Frankivsk (120), Lviv (108) and Rivne (103) regions were connected. Also among the leading regions in the number of localities connected to the 4G network are Kyiv and Vinnytsia regions: 73 and 69 respectively.
Kyivstar is a Ukrainian mobile communications operator. VEON international group (earlier VimpelCom) is the shareholder in Kyivstar. The group’s shares are listed on NASDAQ (New York).
Kyivstar, the leading Ukrainian mobile communications operator, plans to invest in the development of 4G (LTE) standard by 18-20% more in 2019 compared with 2018, Kyivstar President Alexander Komarov has said. In 2018, capital expenses of the company totaled UAH 3.1 billion. “In 2018, we increased investment in LTE by 18%. In 2019 and 2020, we are planning to maintain the same growth pace and even more – up to 20%,” he told reporters in Kyiv on Thursday.
Komarov said that Kyivstar, like other mobile operators that have purchased 3G and 4G licenses at tenders, are now in the middle of the investment cycle for implementing these communication standards.
“For a few more years, we will actively invest in comparative amounts in LTE, about UAH 3 billion a year,” the president of the largest operator said.
He said that at present, Kyivstar is focusing on the introduction of a more promising in terms of speed and data volume transmission 4G. The president of the company said that if the state is ready to provide the operator with frequencies in the range of 700-800 MHz and ensure the principle of technology neutrality for the market, the above investments can be increased to cover new village communication standards and reduce the “digital gap.”
Komarov also expressed the opinion that the possible implementation of the 5G communication standard in the Ukrainian market is still premature, since it is ahead of the market needs and the willingness of market players to invest.
At the same time, he said that Kyivstar intends to invest annually about UAH 100 million of its own funds in new promising business areas, among which he called FinTech, Internet of Things (IoT), cloud solutions and technologies, big data.
According to him, the goal is to bring the share of this new income of the total income of Kyivstar over three years to 10%. The president of the company said that the search for optimal forms of cooperation with possible partners in these areas is currently underway.
4G communication in the 1800 MHz band is currently available in 1,380 localities for at least 90% of their residents, the National Commission for Communications and Informatization Regulation (NCCR) has reported. In accordance with the list of localities provided to the NCCR by operators, 4G communications in Ukraine cover: 95 localities by Kyivstar, 1,099 localities by Vodafone Ukraine and 185 localities by lifecell. The lifecell’s press service told Interfax-Ukraine that they had submitted a list of localities with a population of more than 10,000 people to the regulator, in which at least 90% of the population is covered by 4G communication in the 1800 MHz band.
“In total, 4.5G-communication from lifecell in the 1800 MHz band is available in 5,082 settlements with different levels of population coverage,” the lifecell said, citing data as of January 11, 2019.
In turn, the press service of Kyivstar also reported that they submitted exclusively those settlements in which more than 10,000 people live.
“The company did not include localities in the rural areas and small cities with a population of less than 10,000, as these data were not requested by the regulator. As for the territory of the 4G communication network, Kyivstar now covers 3,619 populated localities,” the country’s largest mobile operator said.
Vodafone Ukraine told Interfax-Ukraine that as of January 17, 2019, 1,124 localities are connected to the 4G network, about 19 million Ukrainians live in them, but the company could not explain why the number of localities submitted to the regulator is different compared with its competitors.
Kyivstar and lifecell suggested that such a difference is due to the fact that only the towns with a population of over 10,000 were submitted, while Vodafone Ukraine presented all of the localities.
According to the regulator, mobile operators have already received more than 35,500 licenses to operate radio electronic equipment: more than 24,500for 3G/UMTS; more than 9,500 for 4G/LTE (the 1800 MHz band) and about 1,500 for 4G/LTE (the 2600 MHz band).
According to the licensing conditions, operators must ensure that 4G services can be received within 12 months for at least 90% of the population of each regional center of Ukraine, and within 42 months for at least 90% of the population of each locality with a population of more than 10,000 people except for regional centers and settlements located in the zone of environmental protection and on the areas annexed by Russia.
Vodafone Ukraine mobile communications operator from July 1 will launch 4G (LTE) high-speed mobile Internet in the 1800 MHz band in 10 regions, the company’s spokeswoman Victoria Ruban has told Interfax-Ukraine. “On July 1, 2018 all three mobile operators are to receive licenses for the same number of towers [in the 1800 MHz band] – 1,600 each. Someone distributes them across Ukraine to declare more covered towns. We would focus on the largest cities in 10 regions to give high-quality coverage. Then, as soon as the licenses are issued we will expand geography,” she said.
Ruban said that 4G communications in the 1800 MHz band would be available to residents of around 50 cities and towns in the following regions: Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Zaporizhia, Odesa, Mykolaiv, Poltava, Sumy, Kirovohrad and Kherson.