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Russian regulator may delay LTE tenders till 2012


MOSCOW, Sept. 5 (RBC) Tenders to deallocate frequencies to roll out the Long-Term Evolution (LTE) 4th generation mobile standard have been postponed until the second quarter of 2012, a source at one of Big-3 mobile operators told RBC Daily.

The first tender was expected to be held on December 1, with the Big-3 mobile operators, MTS, VimpelCom, Megafon, and national telecommunications operator Rostelecom seen as the most likely contenders for the frequencies, the daily reported earlier citing a source at the State Commission for Radio Frequencies.

Also, the Communications Ministry has expedited consideration of technological neutrality principles, which mean that LTE networks can be built by any operator in Russia. These principles will be examined in the second quarter of 2012.

Originally, the ministry planned to postpone this issue for 1 or 2 years, but decided to consider it earlier after the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) accused it of violating the law on competition. FAS claims that smaller operators such as SMARTS, TTK and Tele2 Russia have had their applications to the consortium LTE were ignored.

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