Friday, March 31, 2017

During MTS’ Investor Day in London, Vasyl Latsanych, Vice President for Strategy and Marketing, talked to Light Reading magazine about the emerging 5G mobile standard and the effect this is likely to have on MTS’ investment plans.

Vasyl doesn’t yet see any clear business case for 5G. "There is no finalized technology, no network equipment available, no frequency allocation in any of our countries, no terminals -- and they don't seem to be coming -- and there is no business case behind it," he explained. Vasyl thinks that 5G standards will be set up in the 2020 timeframe. MTS doesn’t have 5G in its plans for the next couple of years.  

Next generation technologies usually require substantial investment. According to Vasyl, it is too early to speculate what the capex implications of 5G will be. MTS reported a sharp capex decline of 13% y-o-y to RUB83.6 billion in 2016 and announced plans for further capital expenditure cutbacks to about RUB80 billion in 2017. Commenting on this, Vasyl said that the company’s spending on network rollout had reached its zenith over the 2011 to 2015 period. It seems unlikely to rise over the next few years due to the advanced state of the operator's 4G and fiber rollout and a lack of clarity on 5G.

Meanwhile, MTS is ready to partner with other operators and vendors on 5G research and development, and is planning to pilot 5G technology in some parts of its network.



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