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Russia’s MTS Launches Pilot 5G Network in Moscow Hotspots

MTS said it opened 14 hotspots across the city’s main tourist attractions and business centers. Mikahil Pochuyev / TASS

Russia’s top cellphone carrier MTS said Friday it has launched the country’s first pilot 5G network in Moscow.

MTS said it opened 14 hotspots across the city’s main tourist attractions, including Lubyanka Square near Red Square, the Moscow City financial district and the VDNKh exhibition center.

Participants of MTS’ pilot project with eligible smartphones will be able to enjoy Ultra HD videos and cloud gaming as well as augmented and virtual reality services.

MTS president Alexei Kornya said technicians will be working to improve 5G test infrastructure during the pilot period, according to the RBC news website.

Users will not yet be able to connect to the fifth-generation network independently, RBC reported

Instead, selected participants will receive a text message inviting them to connect to the pilot network based on an analysis of their movement and internet use data.

“By enabling the ‘Access to 5G’ option, you are confirming your participation in scientific, research, experimental and design work on the deployment of 5G networks in the Moscow pilot zones,” MTS said in a footnote on its website.

MTS signed a 5G development deal with Huawei in 2019 as the Chinese company faced pressure from the United States, which blacklisted it over spying concerns.

Its 14-zone network appears two years after Sweden’s Ericsson announced the opening of Russia’s first 5G zone on Tverskaya Street with MTS' rival Tele2.

Russia adopted a roadmap last year intending to roll out 5G networks across 10 cities by 2024.

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