Tenders for frequencies for fourth-generation communications networks, or LTE, could be announced in the second half of the year, Communications and Press Minister Igor Shchyogolev said Thursday.
It depends on whether the big three mobile operators and Rostelecom manage to draw up "a digestible scheme" for converting military frequencies, he said.
In late December, the State Commission for Radio Frequencies authorized Mobile TeleSystems, VimpelCom, MegaFon and Rostelecom to form a consortium to research the LTE frequency spectrum and prepare proposals for conversion, which will be reviewed at a commission meeting in July. Other operators might join the consortium.
Once the research is complete, the frequencies will be tendered. The winners will conclude contracts with the Defense Ministry to convert the frequencies.
"The procedure won't be the same as in the past. … We are announcing the tender immediately. The winners will have to pay the costs of conversion, of manufacturing equipment for the military, and they may immediately begin to offer communications services to the extent they free up the frequencies," he said.