Qualcomm is working with the wireless industry in Russia to help with the rollout of 5G mmWave. If everything goes smoothly, the network will be launched in Moscow this fall.
Currently, most Asian telecom operators favor sub-6GHz radio frequencies. Although sub-6GHz bands are effective when it comes to wireless services at long distances, mmWave 5G can access more data. This lets it offer fast speeds, immense capacity, and low latency. However, it will also need many lower range cell towers, which increases the cost of deployment.
It seems that advantages outweigh the downsides, which is perhaps why T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T all used mmWave in the cities where the next generation of wireless network was deployed first. Since the smaller cell towers communicate over a distance of about 1 kilometer only, the rollout of mmWave cellular radios requires heavy government involvement.
That's why, the Department for Information Technologies of Moscow, which comes under the Moscow City Government, will work with Qualcomm, Russian carriers, gear manufacturers, and software vendors. Beeline, MTS, Tele2, and MegaFon are gearing up for trials this autumn in Moscow and a wider rollout is expected in 2020.
They will use band n257, which includes the 28 GHz band. It's worth mentioning that Moscow is not aiming to go all-in with a full commercial launch yet. The idea is to deploy 5G pilot zones for testing things such as consumer 5G services and next-generation enterprise offerings. It will also help with piloting various 5G-fueled digital services such as augmented and virtual reality applications that Qualcomm believes will be particularly important.
Moscow's IT chief Eduard Lysenko said that mmWave spectrum access will speed up high-bandwidth 5G rollout, paving the way for lucrative new jobs and further investment. In the coming years, the city administration plans to equip streets, stadiums, business centers, railway stations, airports, and congress halls with super-fast, high capacity, low-latency services.
Since Moscow is the capital of Russia and one of the megacities of the world, it's not surprising to see that the country is focusing its initial 5G development efforts there. Later on, the network will likely be rolled out to more cities, covering 80 percent of the population by 2025.
Yulia Klebanova, Qualcomm Europe's VP of business development, said that it's working with vendors to help Moscow achieve its 5G related goals and that deploying the next generation of wireless connectivity on the n257 mmWave band will help carriers meet those objectives more efficiently. Qualcomm has been at the forefront of the development of millimeter-wave components for 5G devices and this gives it an edge over other suppliers, particularly those who are focusing on sub-6GHz chips gear.
Russia's Ministry of Telecommunications and Communications is also considering the use of 4.4-4.99 GHz bandwidth for implementing 5G networks. These frequencies are usually adopted by China and Japan only. Huawei makes gear in the 4.8-4.9 GHz band for China Mobile and thus it can prove to be an important partner. MTS has already entered a deal with the Chinese company to deploy 5G network and a pilot launch is planned for the 2019-2020 timeframe.