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Pandemic could accelerate the decommissioning of the 3G networks, said operators

Pandemic coronavirus may accelerate the replacement of third-generation networks to more modern standards, however the 2G devices continue to remain relevant, according to respondents RIA Novosti, the largest Russian mobile operators.

In "VimpelCom" (brand "Beeline") believe that the pandemic coronavirus, and also due to her measures of self-isolation and the development of the format for remote work and study, pushing the Telecom industry around the world to accelerate the solution of a question with large-scale deployment of 5G. "In Russia the issue of frequencies for fifth-generation communication is particularly acute. We see that the load on networks has increased significantly, and there is every reason to believe that this trend will continue in the future. The introduction of 5G will allow to redistribute the workload with existing networks and to cope with further traffic growth. But in order for this process to go quickly and efficiently, you need to allocate 5G precisely those frequencies which are the focus of present, the world community ("Golden band")," - said the press service of the operator.

MTS believe that the timing of the launch of new generation networks on existing frequencies depend on the decisions of regulators, as well as penetration of devices and services to the fifth generation. As for the other generations when several years of "Beeline" 4G sells only smartphones, and the proportion of 4G subscribers is growing steadily. With this in mind, the current investments of the company are focused on 4G networks.

In "the Megaphone" have told that in Russia, as in other countries, the frequency resource is limited, while the consumption of mobile Internet traffic is growing annually by 30%. "Even a few years before the pandemic, "the Megaphone" has started refarming of a frequency – translation from a legacy communication standards 4G. Today, 4G accounts for nearly 80% of all mobile Internet traffic in the country", - noted in a press-service of the operator.

Operator Tele2 already holds the refarming of 3G frequencies under LTE technology: in the next 3-5 years possible a full translation of the 3G frequency range 2100 MHz for LTE technology. "However, the refarming of GSM frequencies is possible in the longer term, as market participants remain subscribers who continue to use only the standard voice services and are not going to change habits. To carry out refarming of GSM frequencies, it is necessary to saturate the market with end-user equipment with support for VoLTE (Voice over LTE VoLTE technology voice over LTE - ed.)", - said the press service.

To fully carry out the refarming of GSM frequencies, it is necessary to saturate the market with end-user equipment with support for VoLTE, as long as such devices belong to the category of premium smartphones. "When the penetration of devices that support VoLTE will reach a high level and client base is ready, we will carry out the refarming of GSM frequencies under VoLTE. In our opinion, the 4G technology would have taken their 3G is faster than VoLTE to 2G" - said the Agency interlocutor.

However, in the MTS by the end of the first quarter of 2020, the penetration of smartphones on the network reached 76.1 percent, and the penetration of mobile Internet in the database has increased up to 63.5%.

Despite the development of networks of a more modern generation, 2G devices continue to be popular. Subscribers and corporate customers of MegaFon remains about 15 million 2G devices. "This is a conventional push-button phones, baby watches, various GSM modules for alarm systems, GPS trackers and other M2M devices. Is the number of devices continues to be requested by users, so 2G, most likely, will last for a long time and will be phased out even later than 3G," said the company.

In turn, the penetration of 2G devices in the Tele2 network is reduced: in April, their share decreased by 5 percentage points year-on-year to 20%. "However, the leaching of these devices from the network is slower than 3G phones, the share of which in April declined by 7 percentage points year-on-year to 16%. 3G and 4G are comparable in price, so the Internet user when replacing devices choose advanced devices LTE", - said the press service. In the opinion of the operator of the 2G devices there are users who need a phone only for calls, I see no reason to replace them on more expensive.

"Beeline" also continues to provide support 2G to subscribers - the owners of the phones are 2G-only also could use the connection. "However, the 2G-only phones in our network are gradually replaced by devices that support 4G as of today 4G smartphones you can buy for the price of 3 thousand rubles, and also take advantage of the marketing campaign. These trends we consider when developing our network", - said the Agency interlocutor.