MTS installed more than 9,160 new base stations in the first half of 2015 as it attempts to deploy LTE quickly before turning its attention to LTE-A.
The figure – a near 60 percent increase compared to the first six months of last year – included 4,830 LTE and 2,490 3G base stations.
The Russian operator is focusing its efforts on equipment supporting the 1800MHz frequency as part of its plans to deploy LTE.
MTS said deploying LTE in the 1800MHz band is quicker and more efficient than higher frequencies.
It is aiming to combine spectrum in the 1800MHz and 2600MHz ranges in order to bring dual and tri-band carrier aggregation to Russia by the end of 2015, in what it labelled an “aggressive” network build-out.
MTS said aggregating 1800MHz and 260MHz could push peak speeds to the range of 150-187 MB/s.
This is particularly important for the Moscow region, the operator added, where the volume of mobile data traffic nearly doubled in H1.
Andrei Ushatskiy, MTS Vice President, said: “In H1 2015, we focused on the deployment of tech-neutral networks by launching over 50 percent of the base stations in the 1800 MHz range.
“This approach resulted in quicker network deployment and better coverage as well as higher mobile data transfer speeds through the use of the LTE-Advanced technology.”
MTS has signed deals with Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei and Samsung as part of its RUB10 billion (€163.2 million) project to bring LTE on the 1800MHz band to 19 regions in Russia in 2015.
Ushatskiy said: “Faster network development not only allows us to fulfil licensing requirements and make mobile broadband available to millions of our customers ahead of schedule, but also hedge risks related to ruble volatility.”