Megafon to launch UMTS in 900 MHz bandwidth by the end of 2011

Megafon, the second largest mobile telephony provider in Russia in terms of subscribers, plans to launch a UMTS network using 900 MHz radio frequency band in Moscow by the end of 2011 and cancel GSM telephony in the city within the next 5-6 years, according to Igor Akulinin, deputy director of Moscow office of Megafon.

The advantage of UMTS 900 is a each base station capacity that is twice as much higher for each one in comparison to GSM technology, therefore UMTS 900 ensures better territorial coverage and a stronger signal in the premises. However, by the middle of 2011, only 11% of Megafon’s subscribers in Moscow had the handsets which supported UMTS 900, while 40% of the operator’s customers had UMTS 2100 terminals.

However, Mr Akulinin considers that all the latest models of smartphones have the support of UMTS 900 and by 2016 almost 80% of mobile telephony subscribers will possess appropriate terminals, which simplify cancelation of GSM service.

The plans to launch UMTS 900 in Moscow by the end of 2011 were also announced by MTS and Vimpelcom, two other UMTS operators in Russia.