MTS is expected to deploy a 5G test network during the World Cup in 2018, after signing a collaboration agreement with Nokia.
The Russian operator will also work on Internet of Things technologies during the collaboration, which aims to create a strategic path towards 5G and also deal with soaring data use.
It said it wanted to use the likes of LTE Advanced Pro, which is part of 3GPP Release 13, to provide its customers with faster speeds, low latency and use its spectrum more efficiently. Among the technology MTS is planning to implement is enhanced carrier aggregation, LTE broadcast, LTE-Unlicensed and Licensed Assisted Access.
Within the IoT, both companies are planning to test the likes of NB-IoT, LTE-M and Extended Coverage GSM technologies.
Nokia said it would set up a 5G test network in a Russian football stadium during 2018, when the country is hosting the World Cup, to deliver video and "other services", as yet unnamed, to customers.
The final part of the collaboration will involve demonstrating the dual connectivity of LTE and 5G in the centimetre band.
Andrey Ushatsky, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at MTS, said: "MTS is developing a roadmap for the evolution of its networks taking into account the complexity and scope of the challenges to be solved when implementing the 5G standards.
"The joint projects and trials we will undertake [with Nokia] will enable us to meet future data demand in the most effective way, and we look forward to showcasing this work in 2018."
This partnership builds upon an existing research plan with Nokia rival Ericsson. Late last year, MTS signed a deal with the Swedish vendor to demo 5G technologies at the 2018 World Cup, with a pilot planned for later this year.