Russian telcos in LTE network sharing deal - paper

Thu Mar 3, 2011 4:53am EST

* MTS, Vimpelcom, MegaFon, Rostelecom to team up with Yota

* Will have an option to buy quarter stake each in Yota

MOSCOW, March 3 (Reuters) - Four Russian telecoms providers plan to sign a deal on Thursday to share a next-generation mobile network that will be built by smaller rival Yota, Russian business daily Vedomosti reported.

The deal, to be signed in the presence of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, will enable MegaFon, MTS (MBT.N), Rostelecom (RTKM.MM) and Vimpelcom VIP.N to provide high-speed mobile broadband services without building separate networks, the newspaper said.

While telecom operators around the world are increasingly sharing network resources to cut costs, deals covering all the key operators in the country have been rare.

Yota, in which Russian state corporation Russian Technologies has a 25 percent stake, already has the spectrum in 180 Russian cities for the fourth-generation LTE network.

Under the deal, the big three mobile operators and Rostelecom will each have an option to buy 25 percent stakes in Yota, the report said.

MegaFon, MTS, Rostelecom and Vimpelcom all declined to comment. Yota was not available for comment. (Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Dan Lalor)

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