Kazakh mobile operator Kcell has switched on its first batch of 5G base transceiver stations (BTS), with twelve cell sites in the major cities of Almaty and Shymkent now live and available for free testing by its network users with compatible smartphones and 5G-enabled SIMs, who will initially incur no data traffic charges. As reported by Tengri News, ten 5G BTS were lit in locations around Shymkent, with two initial 5G sites in Almaty set to be augmented by nine additional BTS in that city within days.

A consortium of Kcell and sister firm Mobile Telecom Service (Tele2-Altel) won all the spectrum on offer in Kazakhstan’s 5G 3600MHz-3800MHz licence auction which took place in December 2022. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database says that 486 5G BTS are earmarked for Astana (formerly Nur-Sultan), Almaty and Shymkent in 2023 – to be shared by Kcell and Tele2-Altel – as part of joint plans to build over 7,000 5G BTS by end-2025, with Kcell alone expected to build more than 3,500 5G BTS and cover 75% of major cities and 60% of regional centres with 5G services by end-2027.

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