MTS, the leading telecommunications group in Russia and the CIS, has announced the launch of Russia’s first multi-location pilot 5G network for end consumers.
The new network covers 14 highly-trafficked public spaces in Moscow, providing 5G coverage in many of the city’s most famous parks and shopping areas, such as Gorky Park, Moscow State University, Nikolskaya Street, the VDNH Exhibition Center, and the Skolkovo Innovation Center.
Speeds of up to 1.5 Gbps
The pilot will provide 5G connectivity at speeds of up to 1.5 Gbps to invited subscribers on an individual basis, via SMS. Currently, the pilot is limited to certain 5G phones, that support the n79 band in the 4.4-5.0 GHz frequency range.
Very few other countries have identified the 4.4-5.0 GHz frequency range as a potential 5G candidate, although China and Japan are said to be among amongst them.
While most other countries have settled on 3.4-3.8GHz as the optimal frequency for 5G networks rollout, in Russia these bands are still occupied by government agencies and the military.
First large-scale pilot 5G network
“MTS is proud to be reaffirming our technology leadership by launching Russia’s first large-scale pilot 5G network, which will be available to thousands of our subscribers for everyday use. We will invite select users with compatible devices to join the pilot and experience the benefits of 5G first-hand — high-bandwidth, low-latency connectivity for next-generation applications such as UHD video, AR/VR, and cloud gaming,” said MTS President & CEO Alexey Kornya.
“At the same time, the pilot test will help our specialists monitor infrastructure performance and service quality under real-world usage,” Kornya continued.
This limited launch certainly seems like a milestone toward a broader 5G rollout in Russia, in the longer term. Especially when we consider none of the other mobile operators in the country have come close to launching a 5G mobile service.
MTS serves over 80 million mobile subscribers in Russia, Armenia and Belarus, and about 9 million customers of fixed-line services, including fixed voice, broadband internet, and pay-TV in Russia.