Kyivstar GSM / GPRS / EDGE, Ukraine
In January 2001 Ericsson was awarded an exclusive contract from the mobile telecom company Kyivstar for the first GPRS network in the Ukraine. The contract involved the expansion of Kyivstar's overall coverage and included the addition of GSM1800 for dual-band enhanced capacity.
Under the terms of the contract, which was estimated at $100 million (SEK940 million), Ericsson provided GPRS/GSM core and radio-access infrastructure equipment. The system came into operation in the third quarter of 2002.
Kyivstar is now the Ukraine's leading national mobile operator having the largest coverage in GSM: more than 1,200 cities in Ukraine, all regional centres and road coverage for all highways of national and regional importance. Kyivstar GSM mobile network covers more than 92% of the country's territory; the number of subscribers currently is 8.1 million.
ENHANCED GLOBAL RATES FOR GLOBAL EVOLUTION (EDGE) ENHANCEMENT
In late 2003 Kyivstar selected Ericsson as the sole supplier of GSM/GPRS/EDGE equipment in order to expand coverage and increase network capacity throughout the Ukraine. The three-year contract award is for the supply of GSM/GPRS/EDGE equipment and includes transmission equipment as well as a services agreement.
Kyivstar will be the first operator in the Ukraine to implement EDGE in its network. EDGE is an enhancement of GPRS that can handle three times the data throughput of GPRS in existing spectrum bands. Using EDGE, Kyivstar will be able to handle three times more subscribers than their previous GPRS system, triple their data rate per subscriber, or add extra capacity to their voice communications.
EDGE uses the same TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) frame structure, logic channel and 200kHz carrier bandwidth as current GSM networks, which allows existing cell plans to remain intact. The introduction of EDGE will help to consolidate Kyivstar's position as the number one in the Ukrainian mobile telecoms market.
EXISTING SYSTEM AND SUBSCRIBER SERVICES
GPRS was an important step in the evolution of the Kyivstar network. The company has stated that it is committed to providing enhanced coverage and quality of service to its customers by introducing this new technology. EDGE is the next stage in the process. Kyivstar has expanded its GSM/GPRS network since first becoming pre-eminent in the Ukrainian market with its network launch in 2002, adding the GSM1800 infrastructure to a further 300 cities in the Ukraine and achieving close to full coverage for the country at 92%.
The company has introduced into the Ukrainian market the ACE & BASE service which is a prepaid mobile telecoms package and also the DJUICE brand which is a mobile service specifically aimed at the youth market which gives a range of subscriber perks such as free calls and free concerts. Kyivstar has also introduced 'scratch cards' as an easy way to replenish 'pay-as-you-go' mobile accounts, which has proved easy to use and popular.
The investment into GPRS has helped pave the way for an array of mobile services never before experienced in the Ukraine and also superior coverage. The investment is being enhanced now by the introduction of EDGE for better data services and higher capacity, which allow customers an easy access to the Internet or other data services while on the move. Kyivstar is the only Ukrainian operator to offer a full roaming package throughout Europe without any country exceptions.
EDGE PROJECT CHARACTERISTICS
The new contract covers the major core and radio-access infrastructure expansion of Kyivstar's existing GSM network to EDGE. It will include the supply and implementation of new software, equipment and management systems. Ericsson's EDGE solution will further integrate Kyivstar's GSM mobile network with the datacoms / Internet world, making it possible for the Ukrainian operator to offer much faster data services, with wireless access to internet and intranet, as well as other multimedia services.
ABOUT THE COMPANY
Kyivstar GSM Joint Stock Company (Kyivstar) began its commercial operations in December 1997 and is today the fastest-growing mobile operator in the Ukraine mobile market. There have been discussions about the merging of Kyivstar with VimpelCom, one of Russia's leading mobile telecoms companies. The interest here is that Telenor, which controls the Ukraine's number two mobile telecoms company Ukrainskiye Radiosytemy, would rather VimpelCom expand in the Ukraine by merging with Kyivstar rather than by a hostile takeover of Ukrainskiye Radiosytemy.