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Putin bans operators to get frequencies of TV channels — press

August 12, 2014, 13:14 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Putin’s order was published and came in force on Monday
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© ITAR-TASS/EPA/YURI KOCHETKOV

MOSCOW, August 12. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has banned the redistribution of frequencies without TV channels’ consent, depriving mobile operators MTS, MegaFon, VimpelCom, and state-owned Rostelecom of the frequencies where they might have rolled out the Long Term Evolution (LTE) network, business daily Kommersant reported Tuesday.

Putin’s order was published and came in force on Monday. The president put an end to a dispute over frequencies that were freed while television broadcasting is being switched into a digital format, that will end in 2019.

The State Radio Frequency Commission decided in 2011 to allocate a 694-790 megahertz (MHz) band for the development of the LTE network. MTS, MegaFon, VimpelCom and Rostelecom won an auction for the band in 2012. The communications ministry has suggested distributing 720-750 MHz and 761-791 MHz frequencies among the operators as soon as the frequencies were freed.

The National Association of Tv-radiobroadcasters opposed the decision in April 2013. The First Channel’s General Director Konstantin Ernst wrote a letter then to Vladislav Surkov, the then-deputy prime minister, saying that television channels needed the frequencies for moving to the HD format, and the existing 470-694 MHz band would not be enough.

“If the frequencies were handed over to the cellular companies, we could have forgotten of the high definition television and the expansion of regional channels,” the association’s President Vladimir Livshits told the daily.

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