After much internal debate, the Russian Ministry of Communication has agreed to authorize the 3.4-3.8 GHz spectrum for 5G. As reported earlier this year in Russia Business Today, the spectrum is currently the province of the Ministry of Defense. Previous requests from NASA equivalent Roscosmos to open it up for 5G traffic were previously denied.
The stated reason for the denial has been a concern that radio transmissions to state agencies could be compromised. The Ministry has stated that 5G communications will be held to the approved frequencies for the next three to five years. Some analysts believe that the narrow range will be insufficient for the kind of saturated development that 5G progress will need.
Preliminary reports indicate Russian telecoms Rostelecom, Megafon, Vimpelcom and MTS will coordinate resources to roll out Russia’s 5G strategy. MegaFon CTO Frederic Vanoosthuyze expressed doubts about the spectrum limitations being sufficient for their purposes, saying, “The basic speed that a base station’s single sector can maintain on a 10 MHz band is 75 Mbps. Just as it’s the case with LTE, in 5G networks, further increasing data transfer speed is only possible if the frequency range is increased.”
Vanoosthuyze added that obstacles will be less difficult with the telecoms working in sync. He said that the telecoms plan on using existing equipment rather than building more infrastructure or base stations. “The joint venture aims to resolve this issue by operating as a single negotiator with the regulator and agencies that currently own frequencies,” he explained.