MegaFon, Rostelecom moot shared 5G infrastructure

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MegaFon and Rostelecom could share 5G network infrastructure as part of plans to jointly develop a 5G network, the Russian operators have announced.

The partnership will reduce the costs of rolling out next generation network technology, the telcos said. A working group will develop optimal scenarios for rolling out 5G across Russia by using the 3.4-3.6GHz and 26GHz bands. They said they wanted to devote "special attention" to identifying where spectrum could be freed up and devoted to 5G.

If the two companies agree to share network infrastructure, they will set up a joint venture to handle the project.

MegaFon CEO Sergey Soldatenkov said: “In the current market conditions, the most logical and cost efficient option for deployment of the new standard is cooperation between several players.

"We are already working together successfully with Rostelecom as part of the working group on Information Infrastructure under the government programme for Digital Economy and we see huge potential for further cooperation.

"I am confident that, through joint efforts, 5G can become the foundation for technological development in a number of sectors of the digital economy."

[Read more: MegaFon chooses insider for CTO after Bashmakov departure]

Rostelecom President Mikhail Oseevskiy added: “For our company, one of the main aspects of the Digital Economy program is building the infrastructure that is needed for it to be created and function. Clearly 5G will become one of the technologies that forms the foundation for the digital economy.

“We believe that the creation of a fully-fledged 5G mobile network in Russia will require market players to join efforts. Our partnership with MegaFon is designed to demonstrate the success of such an approach to rolling out 5G networks.”

In June, MegaFon hit speeds of 35GBps in a 5G demonstration with Huawei. It is also planning to deploy 5G test zones ahead of next year's World Cup.

Rostelecom announced last week that it is planning to launch a 5G trial at Russia's State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg next year.