Future int’l financial centre to have high-speed wireless communication (adds).

(Updates with more details)

13/7 Tass 321

MOSCOW, July 13 (Itar-Tass) —— An international financial centre to be created in Moscow will use high-speed wireless communication technology despite closeness to Defence Ministry facilities, the Ministry of Mass Communications said on Wednesday, July 13.

“Technically it is possible to provide the future international financial centre with high-speed wireless connections without infringing upon the interests of the military,” the ministry’s press centre said.

The new area to be added to Moscow, where governmental bodies will move, is within the 60-kilometre zone in which 3G networks in the 2100 MHz bandwidth are banned by the Defence Ministry.

The three leading telecom operators – MTS, VimpelCom and Megafon – acquired licenses for 3G UMTS services in all Russian regions as far back as 2007.

Later the government allowed 3G networks to develop in the 900 MHz and 1,800 MHz bandwidths, which are characteristic of second-generation networks and which do not interfere with military lines.

“The current figure of 60 kilometres is the necessary territorial spread. This is an achievement that is explored further, with better results attained if additional technical measures are used,” the ministry said.

The president and the government have issued a number of orders and resolutions aimed at accelerating the conversion of radio frequencies for civilian use, primarily for high-speed wireless connections.

VimpelCom said it would focus on the development of UMTS 900 services (in the 900 MHz bandwidth) in the region. “We plan to use the UMTS 900 bandwidth, for which we have the permission, for high-speed wireless connection in the new area,” the company said.

It is now replacing second generation equipment in the Moscow region with newer equipment and building new base stations. “The network in the region will be upgraded as scheduled and will end in early 2012, resulting in full 3G coverage,” the company said.

The Ministry of Mass Communications believes that in addition to the UMTS standard, there are also other equally promising technologies. “The share of UMTS networks is not big here,” it said.

The redistribution of radio frequencies in favour of civilian users should facilitate the spread of new technologies, such as high-speed 3G and 4G wireless Internet connections and digital television.

Currently, most radio frequencies are controlled by the military.

Tenders for 4G frequencies giving broadband access to the Internet may be held in 2011, Minister of Mass Communications Igor Shchegolev said earlier.

He said this could be possible if the survey covering the frequencies intended for 4G networks was completed by this summer. “If the results are presented by summer, the tenders can be announced already in 2011,” he said.

On December 28, 2010, the government commission on radio frequencies decided that Rostelecom and the three leading telecom operators – MTS, VimpelCom and Megafon – should study the possibility of building 4G networks in GSM bandwidths by July 1, 2011. These bandwidths are currency used for military purposes. The companies have to create a consortium first and team up with research institutes.

Schegolev said the frequencies would be auctioned with certain obligations for the winner. “It will have to clear them up together with the Defence Ministry,” he said.

According to the minister, this work will require at least 60 billion roubles. The winner will have to pay for the conversion and as soon as that is done, it will be able to start providing services,” he said.

Currently, Russia is developing 3G networks. In December 2009, the Federal Service for Supervision in the Field of Information Technology and Mass Communications (Roskomnadzor) issued permits to the top three telecom companies for launching high-speed 3G communication networks in Moscow not only indoors and the metro but also in outdoors.

“It depends on the operators when this technology becomes actually available,” the Ministry of Mass Communications, which supervises Roskomnadzor, said.

Wireless 3G technology, which transmits data at a speed ten times higher than that of GSM networks, has become quite popular in many countries of the world. Russia’s first 3G network was created in St. Petersburg in 2007. It then quickly spread to the rest of the country. However in Moscow, its use was restricted by military and other special authorities.

In the spring of 2009, MTS, VimpelCom and Megafon received permits for the use of 3G technology only indoors and on the subway.

The introduction of 3G technology was accelerated by President Dmitry Medvedev who had instructed the Ministry of Mass Communications and the Defence Ministry to speed up the conversion of radio frequencies for public use.

Medvedev called for intensifying the transfer of radio frequencies from the military to civilian uses.

He said the use of new radio frequencies “is undoubtedly a promising area of work, and we should start preparing ourselves already now for the creation of a new generation of domestic spacecraft.”

“We still have a rather impressive potential in terms of converting radio frequencies that are now used mainly by the military,” the president said.

“Not as much has been done here so far as we would like, and this work should be intensified,” Medvedev said.

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