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Say 'Privet' To WiMax In Russia

Alcatel-Lucent tapped to build a mobile WiMax infrastructure for Russian telecom service provider Synterra

The first regional mobile WiMax networks are coming to Russia, said Alcatel-Lucent on Thursday, the vendor that will supply WiMax equipment there.

Synterra, a Russian telecom service provider, chose Alcatel-Lucent to build a mobile WiMax infrastructure that will cover several towns and cities with an average population of 100,000 people.

The initial regional WiMax networks are expected to be operational in the fourth quarter of this year. Synterra said it intends to partner with other providers to cover more than 1,000 Russian cities and towns by the end of next year. Synterra is planning to provide coverage nationwide over an integrated system.

Alcatel-Lucent's Universal WiMax equipment is based on the 802.16e standard for mobile WiMax, which, similar to cellular networks, allows people to access the Internet on their mobile devices when they're in parks or riding in public transportation. Mobile WiMax, however, promises much faster data speeds and broader coverage than cellular.

The equipment includes base stations, wireless access controllers, and software for day-to-day management of the network. Alcatel-Lucent, which has 70 other WiMax trials and deployments under way worldwide, declined to share specific volumes of equipment supplied, but said the plans involve the intent to provide coverage in some of Russia's largest cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Residents in regions covered by the mobile WiMax network will get services such as voice over IP, mobile data, video streaming, and virtual private network access.

Aperto Networks, another equipment maker, last year launched a WiMax trial in Russia using its PacketMax products, which include base stations for service providers and customer premises equipment that sits at a user's home or office. But the equipment is based on the 802.16d standard for fixed WiMax, which requires users to keep their laptops close to their wireless routers.

The deployments speak to different technologies and service provider business models, said Alcatel-Lucent's spokesman.

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