Kazakh mobile operator Kcell – backed by state-run Kazakhtelecom (KT) – has expanded its existing partnership with Ericsson by naming the Swedish vendor as a 5G RAN technology supplier for network deployment in key regions including Almaty, Shymkent and others representing at least 50% of Kazakhstan’s territory, under a seven-year agreement.

A press release highlights that a single RAN approach for the 5G deployment will ensure ‘seamless integration of 5G into the existing 2G, 3G and 4G infrastructure, maximising the efficient use of network resources and simplifying the transition to the new technology.’ Askhat Uzbekov, Chairman of the Management Board of Kcell, noted that in addition to 5G’s benefits for mobile device users – such as data speed, latency, reliability, power consumption and support for high density of devices – the technology supports development of new applications such as virtual and augmented reality (AR/VR), industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), real-time control of robots, unmanned vehicles and drones. Furthermore, 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) can serve locations where it is not physically possible to lay internet cables due to complex terrain and can be used to replace or complement fixed last-mile broadband services for residential and business customers.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database says that in December 2021 Kcell and Ericsson entered into a ‘Strategic Agreement of Intent’ on large-scale 5G development before a consortium of Kcell and sister firm Mobile Telecom Service (Tele2-Altel) won all the spectrum on offer in Kazakhstan’s 5G licence auction twelve months later, with parent KT subsequently stating that Kcell and Tele2-Altel would jointly deploy 5G mobile networks with 80% national population coverage by end-2027 (and confirming that over 100 5G base stations were operational by April 2023).

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