Russia’s Digital Ministry plans pilot 5G launch in 2025 with locally built base stations

According to Russian news agency Tass, Russia expects to conduct pilot testing of 5G networks in 2025 using “home grown”/ locally built base stations.  Russia’s Ministry of digital development, communications and mass media Maksut Shadayev said, “We expect a pilot test to begin in 2025 in cities with more than one million people.”

Russia has fallen far behind in the 5G race due to sanctions following its invasion of Ukraine.  High-profile network equipment vendors Ericsson and Nokia have left the country. Chinese vendor Huawei hasn’t exited the Russian market, but has set out plans to separate its Russian and Belarusian business units from the rest of the countries in the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) block, and has moved thousands of employees out of the country and closed down its local Enterprise Business Group.  Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, foreign vendors previously helped with limited 5G test zones in the country.

In January 2023, Russian telecom operators entered into forward contracts with Russian manufacturers of base stations for communication networks for over 100 Billion rubles ($1.32 Billion). The total volume of deliveries until 2030 will include around 75,000 base stations, and starting from 2028 operators will have to purchase domestic base stations only. Currently, 5G zones have been launched in an experimental mode in several Russian regions.  The 5G base station vendors were not disclosed!

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In a blog post last September, Counterpoint Research wrote: “Russia might have to wait to get 5G services, as the government hasn’t finalized the spectrum band for the auction, although the ministry concerned is moving towards mmWave in the 24.25GHz-27.5GHz band from existing radio relay stations and 4GHz. The plan is expected to be finalized not before 2023.”


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