After scrapping the auction process earlier this year, MTS is the first Russian telco to get its hands on a mmWave licence

Yesterday, MTS announced that it has been allocated Russia’s first 5G licence. 


The operator suggests that its new licence in the superfast 24.25–24.65 GHz mmWave band will allow it to explore a number of new verticals. In its announcement, MTS said that it is currently planning on exploring solutions for manufacturing, agriculture, oil and gas, healthcare, retail, and logistics, all of which will make use of the high-bandwidth, low-latency connectivity.


The licence, granted by the Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor), covers 83 Russian regions and expires in 2025.


“Obtaining Russia’s first 5G license is a historic moment for our industry, bringing us one step closer to a new era in the history of communications, digitalization, and information technology,” said Alexey Kornya, president and CEO of MTS. “For MTS, 5G will be a key enabler in developing our digital ecosystem — in particular by unlocking new automation opportunities for B2B customers. Fifth-generation connectivity will enable corporate customers to leverage new advances in AI, IoT, and AR/VR, as well as interactive education, autonomous transportation, and industrial process automation.”


Russian operators have been waiting for some time to get their hands on 5G. In the August of 2019, the Russian regulator still hoped to auction 5G spectrum before the end of the year, but this was not to be. By March 2020, the regulator had directly allocated 400 MHz of spectrum to an undisclosed number of operators, including MTS, cancelling the auction process altogether.  


This direct allocation should mean that operators are in a good position to launch 5G once they finally receive licences, though much work is going to be needed in the coming years to ensure 5G’s proliferation throughout Russia. 


“While we still have a long way to go before mass adoption, it’s already clear that in the next few years 5G is set to impact every industry and become a key growth driver for the economy as a whole,” said Kornya.


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