The customs office should address the issues of “grey” imports of mobile terminals, not mobile communications operators.
“As for IMEI codes [international mobile equipment identity], we oppose to disconnecting subscribers due to the fact that an unscrupulous seller sold them a ‘grey’ phone. The fight against illegal import and sale of mobile phones is a function of customs authorities and law enforcement agencies. Shifting this work to telecom operators is wrong,” Kyivstar President Alexander Komarov said in an interview with Interfax-Ukraine.
He also said that in order to solve the problem of stolen telephones there is a so-called “black list of devices,” into which the “phones” get under a statement of the owner about theft or loss and after that they can no longer be used in the networks of operators of a particular country.
At the same time, Komarov said that the identification of subscribers is needed. However, it should be carried out sequentially, in several stages, with certain incentives for subscribers from the operators and the state, he said.
“Identification is, first of all, protecting the subscriber himself from the fact that someone can “steal” the phone number and withdraw money from the card. For some reason, our people are not afraid of this, they think about mythical surveillance, and not about basic security principles of their funds,” the president of Kyivstar said.
According to him, today, up to 15% of the subscribers in the Kyivstar network are identified customers.
The French speed-test company nPerf has published a study of three largest mobile communications operators in Ukraine, where Kyivstar ranks first, according to a presentation on nPerf’s website. The study was conducted from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019. nPerf specialists in total analyzed more than 23,100 tests in 2G, 3G, 4G networks.
The number of conventional network speed tests was 10,200, the number of tests while browsing the web was 3,800, and the number of tests during streaming was almost 3,000.
At the same time, 54.9% of tests were carried out in the Kyivstar network, 28.3% in the Vodafone Ukraine network, and only 16.8% in lifecell. The success rate of tests in operator networks was 91.95%, 91.11%, and 88.05%, respectively.
According to the nPerf report, the average data transfer rate in the Kyivstar network reached 22.76 Mb/s download and 13.12 Mb/s upload, while at Vodafone Ukraine these figures were 15.09 Mb/sand 7.64 Mb/s, respectively, while lifecell has 14.94 Mb/s and 6.36 Mb/s.
Kyivstar also achieved the best result in terms of video streaming quality – 84.65% (versus 82.5 for lifecell and 73.97% for Vodafone Ukraine).
At the same time, the third largest mobile operator in Ukraine, lifecell, has the average largest delay in signal transmission – 61.65 ms. Kyivstar with 62.92 ms is second, Vodafone Ukraine is third, with an indicator of 83.92 ms.
According to the results of all tests, the Kyivstar mobile network scored 56,570 points, beating Vodafone Ukraine by almost 9,000 points.
The Kyivstar mobile communications operator has allowed paying for a subscription to sticker packs in Viber (part of Rakuten Inc.) via own Smart-Money financial service for prepaid subscribers, the companies have said in a joint press release.
“This is the first experience of the collaboration of the messenger and the mobile payment service, which was implemented in Ukraine,” the press service of the mobile operator said.
Users of the Smart Money service will be able to subscribe to all stickers in Viber for UAH 20 per month and access immediately to all collections of stickers, which has more than 500 pictures.
Usually, Viber users pay for each sticker pack separately, but one time at a price of UAH 52-54 per one sticker pack.
The service can be used by Kyivstar prepaid subscribers who have installed the Smart Money application, since payments are made from a mobile account.
“Launching a joint project with Viber is an important step for us. We are confident that such a partnership will help develop a culture of payments with mobile money and thus help citizens of Ukraine to strive for a cashless economy,” Senior Business Development Manager at Kyivstar Olena Suvorova said.
According to Rakuten Viber, Ukrainians make about 4 million calls to Viber every day and send 11 million messages.
“For Viber, this is the first experience of such cooperation in Ukraine,” Senior Director for Business Development in Europe, Africa and Middle East Atanas Raykov said.
Kyivstar also said that today, since the launch of the service in September 2018, 6.4 million transactions has been carried out, and the most popular services were: payment for telecommunication services, national lotteries, online purchases and payment for public transport.
The National Commission for Communications and Informatization Regulation (NCCR) has proposed to telecom operators within one month to file an application to the regulator about the early introduction of the new radio technology in the radio frequency (RF) band lower 1 GHz and settle the issue of concentration of a part of spectrum with two market players via quitting some RF by them on a voluntary basis. According to the regulator’s website, the applications on behalf of operators about the early introduction of the new technology are required because NCCR lacks the legislative authority to make regulatory decisions aimed at changing the current situation.
The commission recalled that, unlike the 1800 MHz band, suitable for the introduction of new radio technologies, the RF spectrum in the 900 MHz band is almost five times smaller, and it is simultaneously used by both general and special users; that this RF is licensed to operators for 3-11 years; that a significant fragmentation of the spectrum and the available concentration of the RF with one telecommunications operator also adversely affect the possibility of introducing new communication technologies in the specified band.
“It was also established that defragmentation of the spectrum would not provide an opportunity of introducing new radio technologies by all operators, given the limited RF they have in use,” the commission said.
The regulator also said that in 2018-2019, the commission, together with industry associations and government agencies, was working to find options for a voluntary frequency exchange, but no agreement was reached between telecommunications operators.
NCCR recommended RF users who, in accordance with the law, carry out operator activities in a certain radio frequency band below 1 GHz, within one month to apply to the commission with an application on the early introduction of new radio technology in this band.
At the same time, the commission recommended to Kyivstar and Intertelecom simultaneously with the said application to submit applications for reducing the relevant RF bands taking into account: the fundamentals of public regulation and the basic principles of using RF spectrum of Ukraine, as well as the number of subscribers of each operator involved by these operators’ resource, as well as the percentage of RF in the 900 MHz band used by EU telecommunications operators, and taking into account the problems of international coordination of RF.
At the same time, the commission considers it advisable to include the liabilities to ensure within 12 months from the date of issuance of a new license to comply with the indicators of the quality of mobile communication services using 3G/4G radio technologies in the territory of each settlement of Ukraine, and on regional, national and international highways of the region, provided for in the new license (except for territories where public authorities are temporarily not exercising their powers, and the territories in which the restrictions for the operation of radio electronic facilities are set) in the special conditions for using RF spectrum under new licenses.
In turn, the Kyivstar mobile operator said that it understands the importance of reducing the digital gap in Ukraine and is ready to consider a possible partial return of RF to the state.
“We have repeatedly offered options for the exchange of frequencies in the 900 MHz band, because this exchange will increase the available spectrum size. We are ready to consider the possibility of a partial return of frequencies to the state under certain conditions… The company acquired RF on legal grounds, at market value, through effective mergers and acquisitions, observing all legislative procedures. It is important for us to understand the regulator’s vision regarding compensation for Kyivstar, as well as the step-by-step reorganization algorithm for the 900 MHz band and their refarming,” President of Kyivstar Alexander Komarov told Interfax-Ukraine, adding that only in 2018, the operator paid more than UAH 1 billion for the rental of RF spectrum.
He also said that the necessary condition for the exchange of radio frequencies in the 900 MHz band is the subsequent introduction of the principle of technology neutrality on the Ukrainian telecom market, which will enable all telecom companies to develop any communication services in frequencies that have already been issued to operators.
Intertelecom has not yet commented on the statement of the commission.
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 jointly with Alfa Insurance (Kyiv) has launched the online travel insurance service for prepaid and contract subscribers.
The cost of an insurance policy for a seven-day trip will be about UAH 300 (the total cost of the policy depends, among other things, on the exchange rate). At the same time, it is valid in all countries, covering all medical services in case of the need to provide emergency assistance abroad.
The amount for which the subscriber is insured is EUR 30,000. At the same time, prepaid subscribers will receive a bonus of UAH 100 to the account, contract subscribers – an additional 20 minutes in roaming. Bonuses are valid 30 days after the start of the insurance period and only in roaming.
The cost of the policy for 14 days will be about UAH 600, for 21 days – about UAH 950.
The subscriber can receive and pay for the policy online without visiting the company’s office.
Roaming from Kyivstar is available in 195 countries.