26 Mar 2019 11:56

Tele2 to offer 4G throughout entire territory in 2019

YEKATERINBURG. March 26 (Interfax) - The telecommunications operator Tele2 intends to offer 4G at all of its base stations in 2019, the head of Tele2 Russia, Sergei Emdin, told journalists in Yekaterinburg on Tuesday.

"The dominating theme last year was that we built a 4G network in all the regions where we're present. This took one-and-a-half to two years. The goal for 2019 is for us not to have sites without 4G technology, with rare exceptions. Last year we brought 4G technology to all the regions; this year, the goal is to bring it to every site, every tower, because today, mobile Internet isn't the prerogative of the life of big cities," Emdin said.

This year the company will focus on expanding the 4G network and its back-office infrastructure for traffic, which will grow several times over. Emphasis will also be placed on entering new regions.

"Next week we're entering two new regions, the Yaroslavl and Ivanovo regions, the last two regions in Central Russia around Moscow where we're not present. That's historically how it happened, so we're closing this issue," Emdin said.

The company's philosophy regarding entering new regions has not changed, despite the deal with Rostelecom (RTKM), he said: Tele2 will focus on economic factors when choosing which areas to expand to.

"We're looking closely at about two to three regions - we're looking closely at the Khabarovsk Territory, since it's the hub-forming region in the Far East, and we're present in practically all regions of the Far East. It would be illogical not to be present in its central region. We're also looking at several regions in the Southern Federal District," Emdin said.

Tele2 has built 2G, 3G, and 4G networks in the Yaroslavl and Ivanovo regions.

According to the Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies, and Mass Communications (Roskomnadzor), Tele2 increased its number of LTE base stations faster than its competitors in 2018. Between January and December 5, the number doubled to 46,226.

In 2018, Tele2 disclosed its capex for the first time in several years: in Q3, it increased its investments in IT infrastructure and the technological development of its network to 4.4 billion rubles, a 78% increase year-on-year. It also became profitable last year.

The T2 RTK Holding was created on the base of the regional GSM operator Tele2 Russia and the mobile assets of Rostelecom. It is present in 54 Russian regions and has built 4G networks in all of them.