Moscow planning a single 5G network infrastructure

Moscow —

The Moscow city government is discussing with mobile operators for creation of a consortium to develop 5G network infrastructure, and is ready to soften administrative barriers to deploy the new mobile standard, which could cost operators up to US$10 billion.

“The 5G technology requires a multiple increase in the number of base stations and a completely different approach to network planning from mobile market participants that will engage bigger investment,” the capital’s IT Department Director Artyom Yermolayev said.

“It means that operators will have to build another large infrastructure, which is not easy. That’s why we are thinking of merging efforts to keep the 5G project attractive for investment.”

The department will propose “creation of a single infrastructure, on the basis of which they all could develop their own network,” according to a high-ranking source in the city government.

The authorities plan to agree on the matter with operators by the end of 2017. “The first task is to see that all the participants are ready to say that they’ll invest and work in a team. The volume of investment will depend on the number of participants,” Yermolayev said.

Moscow could also contribute to the project. “This is not necessarily financial investment for the city. This is a possibility to invest infrastructure, by creating favorable conditions and facilitating mechanisms of cooperation,” Yermolayev said.

A spokesperson for mobile operator MegaFon said that support from the Moscow city government and other regions is of high importance for mobile operators since infrastructure deployment and power supply problems can often be settled only jointly.

Mobile operator T2 RTK Holding, working as Tele2, said it is not discussing the initiative, but will think of joining the consortium.

A spokesperson for mobile operator MTS said the operator is unaware of the idea. “Talking about it is premature, because 5G as a standard will be adopted no sooner than in 2020,” the MTS spokesperson said.

The Communications and Mass Media Ministry said it “welcomes efforts of regional authorities of all levels aimed at the development of connection infrastructure.”