From 4G to 6G: How Russia seeks to develop mobile networks amid shortages of domestic frequency and foreign equipment

From 4G to 6G: How Russia seeks to develop mobile networks amid shortages of domestic frequency and foreign equipment
Russia's telecom sector is going to be hard hit by sanctions as it will be unable to source modern technology. / EWDN
By East West Digital News in Moscow August 5, 2022

The Russian government intends to spend more than RUB30bn ($375mn at the pre-war exchange rate, $500mn at the current rate) on an R&D programme to deploy 6G until 2025, reports East West Digital News.  

Skoltech and the Radio Research Institute could conduct the project, which will include the development of equipment prototypes as well as research on electromagnetic compatibility and user safety. 

Currently most Russian operators, like their foreign peers, are building networks using equipment that supports the 5G standard. But commercial 5G networks are not operating yet in Russia, since operators cannot receive frequencies in the 3.4–3.8 GHz range.

This range, which has been selected for the 5G standard globally, is occupied in Russia by secret services.

Russian mobile operators would focus on supporting the existing 4G networks  whose capacities are satisfactory for most customers  and deploy 5G rather than anticipating 6G developments, according to industry insiders interviewed by Kommersant

These networks, however, are affected by equipment shortages due to the sanctions.

While conceding it is necessary to conduct research on 6G, one of these insiders said that, before allocating a significant budget to this, Russia needs to determine which countries and equipment providers to work with regarding technical standards and equipment.

“None of the latest communication standards has been implemented without international cooperation, and the further it goes, the more difficult and expensive it will be to do it,” this industry insider believes.

This article first appeared in East-West Digital News (EWDN), a bne IntelliNews partner publication.

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