There were slightly over one million LTE subscribers in Russia as of April 2013, Artyom Kuznetsov, a spokesman for Sweden’s Ericsson, told the Russian news agency RIA Novosti last week.
Earlier this year, the consultancy firm J’son & Partners estimated the number of LTE subscribers in Russia to have been “around 500,000 to 750,000” at the end of 2012. The consultancy also emphasized that in Russia’s overall mobile telecom market at that time, 4G penetration was “less than 0.3%.”
While it’s a global dwarf in LTE advancement – with just about 1% of the world’s total subscribers – the LTE market in Russia has nonetheless made tangible headway since Scartel, a Russian telecom operating under the Yota brand name, launched Russia’s first LTE network in early 2012.
Later that same year, Yota symbolically launched the world’s LTE Advanced network in Moscow.
J’son believes that, with its 700,000 subscriber base, Yota had a hefty 93% of the Russian market by early 2013, with MegaFon and MTS, two leading mobile operators in the country running LTE networks, vying for the remaining 7%.
Ericsson anticipates the rapid proliferation of LTE and underscored in its latest June 2013 Ericsson Mobility Report that, according to its estimates, “LTE will cover approximately 60% of the world’s population in 2018.”
In Russia, however, LTE deployment is being seriously hampered by bandwidth issues, with the Defense minister resisting the demands of industry players to yield the necessary frequencies.