LTE network provider for Russia - Huawei

miststizzaMobile - Wireless

Dec 10, 2013 (3 years and 8 months ago)


DEC 2012
Yota has risen in only a few short years from upstart to pivotal figure in Russia’s LTE sector through its far-reaching
network coverage (Europe’s largest). Yota Networks, a spinoff formed in 2012 that handles the network rollout and
sharing end, now functions as Russia’s LTE wholesaler, granting MVNOs access to its infrastructure and putting the
Yota brand in the driver’s seat for next-gen access in Russia over the next decade.
By Li Xuefeng Editor: Yao Haifei
LTE network provider for Russia
DEC 2012
ince its founding in May 2007, Yota grew
rapidly to become the world’s second
largest WiMAX operator in just two
years. However, in May 2010, the Russian
operator announced a move towards LTE, which
its ex-CEO had deemed “a better development
ecosystem.” Four months later, Yota became the
first operator in Russia to boast a full pilot LTE
network (150 base stations) that covered the
entire city of Kazan (one of Russia’s largest cities)
with access speeds of up to 20 to 30Mbps. In the
following year, Yota was granted a license to offer
LTE over two 30MHz blocks at 2.5 to 2.7GHz,
marking the first commercial step of the operator’s
LTE journey. To better facilitate network sharing,
Yota has split the company into an operator and a
network wholesaler, Yota Networks.
Partnering for LTE
Though Yota Networks was not a complete
neophyte in terms of network rollout, its experience
was modest in both the LTE and paired spectrum
arenas, so it was keen to attain comprehensive
technical support encompassing the planning,
deployment, and O&M of its network, with timely
deployment and shortened time-to-market also
During the vendor selection process, Yota
Networks was impressed with Huawei’s robust
body of work and industry-leading technology,
particularly the vendor’s SingleRAN LTE/EPC
solution, which can meet the needs of any and all
LTE deployment scenarios involving multiple radio
access technologies (RATs) and frequency bands,
while also enabling smooth GSM/WCDMA
evolution, so that CAPEX & OPEX is held in
check. Huawei SingleRAN was deployed in half
of the world’s 24 LTE networks at the time of
the selection process (H1 2011), according to the
GSA, with that percentage virtually unchanged
(56 out of 113) as of this past November. Yota
Networks officially chose Huawei to be its preferred
technology partner for LTE, spanning a complete
network buildout, with end-to-end SingleRAN
LTE/EPC as the featured solution.
Moscow, though not the first commercial LTE
market for Yota Networks, was certainly most
challenging in terms of scale and significance.
Huawei’s radio network planning and optimization
team designed and configured logical parameters
for more than 1300 eNodeB’s in one month,
including those for RAN-sharing and IRAT with
MegaFon. At the same time, the core network
team worked on both the core equipment launch
and service model implementation. This marked
the Russian debut of Huawei’s unified gateway
based on Huawei’s high-performance PGP-X16
platform, and the core network team worked
together with the onsite radio network design team
to overcome numerous obstacles, such as unclear
service demands and hardware/software feature
One major challenge was the preparation for
the service swap, which would see both networks
operate side-by-side during the trial period. Yota
Networks and Huawei developed a solution, both
commercial and technical, that would minimize the
threat of service disruption. To facilitate migration,
DEC 2012
existing customers were provided with LTE devices
for free. Prior to launch, five rounds of pilot
switches were done, while testing of eNodeB’s, the
core network, and services in general, demonstrated
good coverage and service stability.
On May 10th at 2 a.m., the moment came.
The WiMAX network was switched off, with the
LTE network switched on an hour later, marking
the first commercial LTE deployment in Moscow
and an important milestone for mobile broadband
in Russia. On the first day of operation, 300,000
subscribers were successfully switched over, with
test results confirming a peak downlink rate of
90Mbps over 15MHz of spectrum, demonstrating
clear superiority for LTE.
As of November 2012, Yota Networks completed
LTE transitions in five markets, including Moscow
and Saint Petersburg, while also concluding rollouts
in ten other greenfield cities.
For an encore
However, Yota would have one more trick
up its sleeve. In October 2012, after months of
preparation and meticulous tuning, the operator
partnered with Huawei to launch the world’s
first LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) technology on a
commercial network, utilizing eleven of its LTE
base stations in Moscow, with sterling results. The
carrier aggregation that this technology promises
has in fact delivered, in terms of peak/average
throughput, peak/average spectral efficiency,
and cell-edge user performance, yielding data
transfer rates of up to 300Mbps. The operator
plans to expand this network by early 2013, when
LTE-Advanced terminals become commercially
Currently, Yota is running Europe’s largest
LTE network, both in terms of user number and
coverage. Its network hosts more than 900,000
subscribers in ten cities, including Moscow, Saint
Petersburg, Novosibirsk, and Sochi. The operator
plans to expand this network to 35 cities by the end
of 2012, covering some 30 million people (with 70
million covered by the end of 2014). In time, the
operator hopes to bring about a rich connected life
in Russia where everyone enjoys high-speed data
access, high definition VoD, and online gaming,
through a variety of LTE terminals, including CPE,
Mi-Fi, and mobile terminals.
Network sharing for all
Yota Networks is now the first and only LTE
wholesaler in Russia, granting MVNO subscribers
(up to four other operators) access to its network
services. The company currently cooperates with
Russian incumbent MegaFon using this model,
with both sides signing an agreement that enables
mutual infrastructure utilization. Both companies
have completed technical integration and are
sharing network access across Yota Networks’ entire
LTE footprint, while Yota Networks enjoys access
to certain MegaFon facilities such as data centers
and sites. Cooperation plans with other major
telcos are currently being negotiated.
Currently, Yota is running Europe’s largest LTE network,
both in terms of user number and coverage. Its network
hosts more than 900,000 subscribers in ten cities, including
Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, and Sochi.