Yota wins Russia-wide LTE roll-out

Russia’s Yota has confirmed that its territory will be firmly stamped with LTE, not WiMAX.

In May last year, we reported that Yota dropped a surprise announcement by saying WiMAX was not in its future. Now, it has signed a deal with major network operators – Beeline, Megafon, MTS and Rostelekom – which will keep Russia floating near the top of the 4G game in Europe. 

The roll-out of LTE will cover 180 cities and should be firmly cemented by 2014. Prime Ministerial muscle-man and photo opportunity king Vladimir Putin was in town for the signing of the agreement. It also has support from the state’s Russian Technologies to make sure 4G roll-outs are performed with minimal hassle.

By comparison, LTE in the UK is not expected on a large scale until 2014 at the earliest, though trials are currently running. 

Yota believes that the deal will put it in a good position to extend its services to the rest of the world, too. 

Russia is an often overlooked economy which is thriving in its technological community. Last year, Skolkovo – a huge centre for business and tech in Moscow – was established to encourage start-ups and IT business. It has investors from Sberbank to TNK-British Petroleum and is strongly supported by President Medvedev.

Just this week it was announced that Nokia wants to set up a research and development stronghold in Skolkovo, while ex-Intel bigwig Craig Barrett has also been poking his nose around.

The Yota LTE roll-out will be good news for a thriving technology scene while also making sure Russia’s consumer is not left out in the cold.