A New-Generation Communication Technology
About three months ago an LTE Advanced (LTE-A) network was put into commercial service in Minsk
Since late 2015 Minsk residents have been able to appreciate the high speeds of the 4G technology. The new network was built by SOOO Belarusian Cloud Technologies (beCloud trademark) in accordance with a decree of the Belarus president. At present LTE Advanced coverage relies on about 150 base stations that operate in the 1,800MHz range. The coverage is being expanded both in Minsk and in the oblast capitals. In H2 2016 the technology is expected to arrive in Brest, Vitebsk, Gomel, Grodno, and Mogilev. District capitals and populated localities with at least 50,000 residents will be able to get a taste of LTE Advanced by 2018.
There is a difference between LTE and LTE Advanced. The terms LTE and 4G are often confused and treated as synonyms. 4G is a promising generation of mobile communications that offers high data transfer speeds and better voice quality. 4G is a family of technologies that meets the requirements of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
LTE is one of these technologies; it offers only data transfer capabilities. LTE-A is the next generation of LTE networks. LTE-A boasts faster data transfer and the ability to broadcast the same data stream via different radio frequencies. Apart from that, LTE-A supports rebroadcasting – a subscriber device can access the grid via another device.
“The LTE Advanced technology, on which our network relies, offers both data transfer and voice transfer. It represents a clear advantage in comparison with the LTE standard. LTE Advanced truly deserves its 4G name,” noted beCloud Director General Sergei Poblaguyev.
4G combines key advantages of the 3G mobile technology and wired Internet access technologies such as mobility and data transfer speeds of up to 150Mbps. 4G allows receiving and sending large amounts of data, watching high-definition video, and sharing files. At present 4G is the most rapidly evolving technology that has been adopted by nearly 400 mobile carriers across the globe.
In the first month since the network deployment, 4G was mostly used by residents of Minsk’s Zeleny Lug and Uruchye districts. The districts accounted for a third of the total traffic in Minsk. One base station in Uruchye transferred nearly 500GB of data within 24 hours. The download speed averaged at 25Mbps while the top speed reached 115Mbps.
The volume of traffic grows every day and has nearly doubled since the launch. As of 1 March the total network traffic went beyond 430TB. To compare, as of 1 February beCloud subscribers consumed slightly more than 220TB of data.
Specialists explain that download speeds depend on a number of factors – the distance between the subscriber and the base station, the number of subscribers
that access the Internet via the base station right now, and the class and quality of the subscriber’s phone or tablet.
Prospects and Development
SOOO Belarusian Cloud Technologies has created the necessary infrastructure for the sake of selling LTE Advanced services to all the interested mobile carriers. MTS was the first Belarusian mobile company to offer 4G services to its subscribers. The number of 4G users in the MTS network has exceeded 100,000. The mobile carrier is pleased with the figure since there are only 112,000 4G-capable devices registered in the MTS network in Minsk.
By the way, other Belarusian mobile companies can use the LTE network on the same terms. The mobile carriers are free to decide on the prices, packages of services, and terms of access to the 4G services.
Belarusian telecommunication market players confirm that Belarusian consumers are indeed ready to embrace the new generation of mobile communications. In particular, life:) representatives noted that 4G is a step into the future, without which the telecommunication industry is unimaginable today.
“Internet traffic consumption grows steadily. People stay connected to the Web for longer periods of time. New Internet capabilities that require faster speeds become available,” the life:) representatives stated.
Experts believe that the deployment of the 4G network will improve Belarus’ performance on the ITU information and communication technology development ranking. In the seventh edition of the Measuring the Information Society report released by the ITU in 2015 Belarus was ranked 36th. Over the past five years Belarus has gone up by 14 points. Within a year the country has improved its standing by two points and is now ranked 36th out of 167 nations. Belarus is still ahead of Russia (45th) and Kazakhstan (58th).