Sunday 30 January 2022

5G in Latvia to get bigger and better while 4G coverage keeps Improving

Latvia’s telecom market continues to benefit from investment and from regulatory measures aimed at developing 5G and fibre-based infrastructure. There is effective competition in the mobile market, with extensive services based on LTE-A technologies to boost data speeds. Operators such as Bité Latvia and Tele2 Latvia have also begun transitioning their networks to support services and applications based on 5G, though with the existing capacity of LTE infrastructure a large scale 5G deployment is not expected until 2023. To facilitate this progress, the regulator in March 2021 approved an application from Tele2 Latvia and Bité to share almost half of their spectrum assets.

In the fixed-line broadband sector, the country is ranked second highest in Europe (after Iceland) for fibre coverage and take-up, closely followed by Lithuania. With this infrastructure in place, the country has also developed a sophisticated digital economy, with e-commerce and e-government services widely available.

There are 3 mobile networks in Latvia: LMT, Tele2 and Bite.

2G/GSM is on 900 and 1800 MHz. Bite uses EGSM 900 (operating only on the edges of the 900 MHz band, so some old phones might not be able to cover it). 3G is on 900 and 2100 MHz with all operators. 4G/LTE is on 800 MHz (B20), 1800 MHz (B3) and 2600 MHz (B7).

In 2019 Tele2 and Bite signed a network sharing agreement for Latvia and Lithuania. The two operators’ networks will be merged, forming a joint shared network. This joint network will be built out gradually starting 2021, with the full network scheduled for completion by December 2023. Each party will hold 50% ownership in the joint venture.

The networks offer prepaid voice and data plans under different brand names like Bites Karte, LMT Karte, and Zelta Zivtiņa (on Tele2 network). Network coverage and speeds are best with LMT and Tele2, but Bite is only slightly behind and all are generally on a good level. LMT started 4G/LTE in 2011 on 1800 and 2600 MHz and covers already more than 90% of the population, 70% by LTE-A. Tele2 and Bite started in 2014 with LTE and are only slightly behind. Bite For rural areas all providers use 800 MHz now too. 

LMT stands for Latvijas Mobilais Telefons and is owned by Telia and the state of Latvia. Its network has the best 3G and 4G coverage, while its 4G/LTE reaches more than 90% of population in 2016, 70% on LTE-A.

LMT have deployed a total of 100 5G base stations by the start of December 2021, with coverage available in all of the country’s regions.LMT’s 5G network is available to residential and business customers via mobile handsets, smart devices and compatible routers. According to the cellco, users in Sigulda, Adazi, Medenciems, Darziņi, Ventspils, Jauniksķile and Jelgava were the most active on its 5G network.

Tele2 is mostly on par with LMT on 2G and 3G covering 95% with 3G and 90% on 4G/LTE open for prepaid. They don't sell prepaid SIM cards under their own brand Tele2 but through the brand Zelta Zivtiņa better known as ZZ meaning goldfish. 

Tele2 has selected Nokia as its 5G radio network access (RAN) partner in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, meaning that the Finnish vendor has become its key 5G vendor throughout the Baltics.

The operator said it now has everything in place to begin a nationwide rollout of 5G and upgrade of 4G in Latvia following the completion of the country's 700MHz spectrum auction in December 2021. It also holds frequencies in the 3.5GHz band. 

Tele2 previously revealed that Nokia is its primary partner for 5G core networks in the standalone era, with deployment expected to have started during 2021. Nokia said it will deploy standalone 5G core and voice-over-5G technology for Tele2 operations in Sweden, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

Bite is the smallest network in Latvia, but has good coverage and speeds in 3G on 900 MHz which is not so common worldwide. In 2016 private equity firm Mid Europa Partners sold Bite to funds affiliated with Providence Equity Partners.

Bite's 4G/LTE covers already 90% of population in 2016. Bite is the local partner of Vodafone, but its prepaid product can only be used in Latvia.

Bite established its first 5G base station in June 2019 and then in January 2021 installed additional six 5G base stations in Riga, extending the operator’s 5G coverage to areas of Old Riga, Krastmala and Kipsala. Bite invested over EUR10 million (USD12.1 million) in 5G infrastructure in 2020 and the operator has maintained that a wider rollout of the technology will take place in 2023. Any customer with a compatible device can currently use the network at no extra cost but a full commercial launch of the system is understood to be some distance away, with Bite indicating that it is waiting for the device ecosystem to mature further.

As a result Bite plans to invest 70 million euros in the development of the 5G network. Bite bought the 723-733MHz upload and 778-788MHz frequency bands in the 700MHz band, which is the most popular frequency in Europe for the construction of a 5G network. The right to use the spectrum has been granted to Bite for 40 years. Previously, this frequency was used for digital television broadcasting, but now it is used for more advanced technologies - 4G and 5G networks. Thanks to the fact that the 700 MHz frequency is able to transmit a 5G signal over a much wider area, Bite will be able to provide strong IoT, NR-Voice, uRLLC, and eMBB services.

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Thursday 27 January 2022

The Mobile Spectrum Stars of Europe

Dr. Kim Larsen, CTIO of T-Mobile Netherlands is very well known as a speaker and on social networks for his honest analysis and insights. We have also used information from him for blog posts for over a decade.

In a recent post on LinkedIn, he nicely summarized the mobile spectrum stars of Europe. In his words:

Based on the analysis of 58 Western European MNOs and their spectrum position, the highest expected mobile performance across markets and operators can be shown. Of course, it does require the MNOs to actively use their acquired cellular spectrum and deploy a market- & spectrum-appropriate antenna technology, such as described in my previous blog "RAN Unleased"

The MNO rank within a country will depend on the relative spectrum position between 1st and 2nd operator. If below 10% (i.e., dark red in chart below), I assess that it will be relative easy for number 2 to match or beat number 1 with improved antenna technology. As the relative strength of the spectrum position of number 1 relative to number 2 is increased, it will become increasingly difficult (assuming number 1 uses an optimal deployment strategy).

The Stars (e.g., #TDCNet / #Nuuday, #Swisscom and #EE) have more than a 30% relative spectrum strength compared to the 2nd ranked MNO in a given market. They will have to severely mess up, not to take (or have!) the best cellular network position in their relevant markets. Moreover, network economically, the Stars should have a substantial better Capex position compared to their competitors (although 1 of the Stars seem a "bit" out-of-whack in their sustainable Capex spend, but may be due to fixed broadband focus as well?). As a "cherry on the pie" both Nuuday/TDCNet and Swisscom have some of the strongest spectral overhead positions (i.e., MHz per pop) in Western Europe, which is obviously should enable superior customer experience.

While this is definitely a good metric to compare, as an analyst and a marketeer, I also think there is also a big role for how operators advertise their services and differentiators to reach the end customers. It may not be too difficult for a second operator (in terms of spectrum holding) to beat the first one with right marketing.

Happy to hear what you have to say.

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Sunday 23 January 2022

Montenegro is Ripe for 5G!

Montenegro has a small telecom market supported by a population of only 623,000. Fixed broadband services are available via a variety of technology platforms, though fibre is the dominant platform, accounting for almost 40% of connections. The growth of fibre has largely been at the expense of DSL as customers are migrated to fibre networks as these are built out progressively.

Mobile penetration is particularly high, though this is partly due to the significant number of tourists visiting the country seasonally, as also to the popularity of subscribers having multiple prepaid cards. In the wake of the pandemic and associated restrictions on travel, the number of mobile subscribers fell in 2020, as also in the first quarter of 2021, year-on-year. Networks support a vibrant mobile broadband services sector, largely based on LTE. 

Two of the MNOs began trialling 5G in May 2021. Montenegrin regulator EKIP (Agency for Electronic Communications and Postal Services) confirmed that the country’s latest round of spectrum auctions saw 220MHz of frequencies sold. The auctions were conducted in late December, with spectrum in the 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2GHz and 2.6GHz bands available for bidding. Licences obtained during the auctions are valid between 21st April 2022 and 1st September 2031.

Montenegro has three network operators: Telenor, Crnogorski Telekom and M:tel. M:tel had a 34.61% share of the overall number of subscribers at the end of May 2021, followed by Crnogorski Telekom with 34.27% and Telenor with 31.12%.

All operators have good coverage in 2G on 900 and 1800 MHz, and on 3G on 2100 MHz. Also, all of them offer 4G/LTE on 800 (B20), 1800 (B3) and 2600 (B7) MHz. The tax of €1 per month for users of mobile telephony that was in place 2012-14, has been abolished again. 5G hasn't started yet, but is in testing phase.

Telenor (formerly Promonte) was owned by the Norwegian provider and sold in 2018 to the Czech PPF Group. It covers already 98% of the population with 3G and 4G/LTE and has recently surpassed T-Mobile in customer numbers. From 2016 4G/LTE was made available for prepaid.

For the second time in a row, Telenor received the "Best in Test" award at the independent measurement of the quality of mobile networks in Montenegro, conducted by Umlaut from November 2020 to April 2021.

PPF Telecom Group has entered into a final agreement to sell a 100% stake in mobile network operator (MNO) Telenor Montenegro to Hungarian technology company 4iG for an undisclosed price. The transaction, which is subject to customary regulatory clearances, is expected to be completed before the end of 2021.

Telenor Montenegro claims 475,580 mobile subscriptions and a leading 37% share of the market at 30 September 2021. Private investment company PPF Group acquired Telenor’s assets in Montenegro, Hungary, Bulgaria and Serbia in 2018 in a deal valued at USD3.3 billion.

Crnogorski Telekom (a.k.a. T-Mobile, formerly Monet) owned by Croatian Telekom (indirectly by Deutsche Telekom) has a good coverage on 2G, 3G and 4G rivalling with Telenor. In 2016 they finally opened 4G/LTE for prepaid too. They cover 70% by the end of 2016 with 4G/LTE using 800, 1800 and 2600 MHz.

Crnogorski Telekom (CT) has begun 5G network testing in Bijelo Polje and Berane, making it the first telecoms operator in Montenegro to successfully test a 5G network at several locations in real world conditions using existing 2100MHz frequency spectrum. The operator received support from the Deutsche Telekom group and hardware partner Ericsson for the tests, which were performed in coordination with the Agency for Electronic Communications and Postal Services (EKIP) and the Faculty of Electrical Engineering of Montenegro.

m:tel is the newest operator in the country, but battles hard for its position. It's a joint venture between Telekom Srbija and Telekom Srpske. Coverage is in 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE.

Back in November, Montenegro’s telecoms watchdog, EKIP, launched a public tender to award technology neutral licences for wireless frequencies in the 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2GHz and 2.6GHz bands for mobile telephony services. The bidding is scheduled to take place between 1 and 24 December 2021 and the concessions will be valid until 1 September 2031.

The auction was conducted using a combined format of a multi-round clock phase and a single round of sealed bids. Participation is open to companies and consortia with at least five years of experience in public mobile electronic communications network operation and service provision.

Mtel was the biggest spender, shelling out EUR5.911 million to acquire permits in the 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2GHz and 2.6GHz bands. Meanwhile, Telenor and Crnogorski Telekom each acquired 2.6GHz licences with respective bids of EUR825,011 and EUR350,000. CommsUpdate notes that the auctions generated a total of EUR7.086 million (US$8.027 million), with four 5MHz blocks in the 2.6GHz band – worth around EUR192,000 – going unsold.

Thursday 20 January 2022

China Telecom explains Implications of Innovative Fixed 5G (F5G) Applications

Last year, Zhang Dong, Director, Industrial Internet Innovation and Development Center, China Telecom, spoke at at Light Reading’s Leading in 5G webinar series.

He said China Telecom began trials three years ago with half a dozen early adopter clients.

The base station cost was mostly paid for by the enterprises, while China Telecom sold O&M services and applications on top including big data, AI, and so on, he said.

While we see challenges like how to ensure lower latency and higher network assurance, and deal with problems like jittering, or how to simultaneously deliver 8K HD video from eight cameras, China Telecom is still making important milestones on its 5G journey.

Zhang said that after deploying more than 1000 5G use cases, China Telecom experts have identified four key categories.

The first is using 5G to enable high-speed mobility, with applications such as autonomous driving, remote control of vehicles or remote management of ports and warehouses.

The second type is those leveraging the faster 5G uplinks and downlinks. This is mostly related to video and in the future will also include various other integrated media, like AR and VR, Zhang said.

The third type of 5G use case focuses on scenarios where people and things gather, such as transportation hubs, and places with large number of people or large objects moving around.

The fourth type is deployment of 5G in hazardous environments. For example, some working environments might expose personnel to toxic gas, loud noise or other safety hazards. 5G can play an important role in ensuring safety.

Zhang cited some of China Telecom’s collaborations in the resource and utility sectors.

One was with oil and gas giant Sinopec, which was one of the first to trial 5G because it was willing to pay for the base station rollouts and services.

Another was the Shendong Coal Group in the mining sector, which had worked with China Telecom to roll out private networks under the wells, requiring investment of over 100 million yuan ($15.6 million).

China Telecom had also partnered with Qingdao Power Grid in a project where network slicing ensured the connectivity and lower latency to support precision power distribution.

We have looked at Fixed 5G (F5G) in our blog posts here and here. During the talk, Zhang also discussed F5G. 

He highlighted that in F5G,  there's a F before 5G where this F stands for fiber connection. Fiber connections and 5G joining hands will usher in another wave of technological innovations with 5G.  Base stations already need fiber for data transmission, etc. These connections can be extended to OT industry, which would mean that the fiber connection can be used to control robots, etc. If fiber connections are deployed together with 5G, mining and other use cases in verticals will emerge in addition we know do today.

The video of his talk is embedded below:

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Sunday 16 January 2022

No plans for 5G in Cayman Islands


The Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean. The 264 sq. km territory comprises the three islands of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman located south of Cuba, northeast of Costa Rica, north of Panama, east of Mexico and northwest of Jamaica. Its population is approximately 66,000.

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on economies throughout the Caribbean region. The reduction in the number of tourists has had a knock-on effect on the telecom sector, with declines seen in subscriber numbers (particularly for prepaid mobile services — the mainstay of short-term visitors) and revenue. Fixed and mobile broadband services are two areas that have benefited from the crisis to a small extent as employees and students have resorted to working from home, but their contribution to the sector has been insufficient to offset steep falls in other areas of the market.

One major casualty may be the region’s second largest mobile operator, Digicel. The company filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy in the US in April 2020. It continues to operate in all of its Caribbean markets as it seeks to refinance billions of dollars of debt, but the pressure is mounting as voice revenues continue to drop from quarter to quarter, and recent adverse currency fluctuations have made the debt burden even worse.

The other major operator, regional incumbent Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC), is experiencing similar drops in subscriber numbers and revenue. However, CWC has the benefit of having the financial backing of its new owner, telecoms multinational Liberty Global. CWC is steadily expanding and enhancing its fixed and mobile networks in many of the countries it serves around the Caribbean, despite many locations being small islands with very small populations. The investment strategy should enable CWC to at least maintain its market share — if not grow it substantially should Digicel falter.

As a result governments, regulators, and even the mobile network operators have shown that they have little appetite for investing in 5G opportunities at the present time. Network expansion and enhancements remain concentrated around improving LTE coverage. Until the economies and markets stabilize, and overseas visitors return (with increased spending power as well as higher expectations), there is unlikely to be much momentum towards implementing 5G capabilities anywhere in the region.

Flow is the incumbent provider and Digicel came to the Caribbean 2001-6 to end this monopoly. In the Cayman Islands they are now on par each sharing about 50% of the market and many locals have two SIM cards.

Flow uses the American frequencies of 850 and 1900 MHz for 2G/GSM and 850 MHz for 3G up to HSPA+, while Digicel employs European frequencies of 900 MHz for 2G and 2100 MHz for 3G. 4G/LTE has started on both networks in 2013 on 700 MHz (bands 13/17).

Flow up to 2015 was called Lime and rebranded, is the incumbent provider in the Caymans. It's operated by Cable & Wireless that has been sold to Liberty Global.

Note that 2G and 3G is on 850 and 1900 MHz. They advertise a '100% coverage' for 4G/LTE on 700 MHz (B17) available for prepaid. In 2016, they announced that their network is now an LTE-A network.

Flow Cayman Islands is aiming to extend its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network across Grand Cayman and the majority of the Sister Islands by the end of 2021.

The pledge is part of the operator’s goal of ensuring that every home in the Cayman Islands can access 1Gbps download speeds, reports Cayman Compass.

TeleGeography notes that Flow’s fibre service is available in all districts on Grand Cayman, although it cannot be accessed in certain areas. The operator’s priority is addressing this via network expansions in areas including West Bay and Spotts. Flow has stated that it will migrate customers from its copper network at no additional cost.

Digicel started in 2006 to challenge the monopoly of Lime that is called now Flow. They claim to have a '99% coverage', but their coverage map is in fact much more limited. While they have a somewhat lower coverage than Flow, their prices are generally lower than Flow's too.

They use European frequencies of 900 and 1800 MHz for 2G, 850 MHz for 3G, 1800 MHz (Band 3) and 700 MHz (Band 13) for 4G/LTE. Their 4G/LTE network offers twice the bandwidth of their competition but unlike them, is not an LTE-A network.

In 2019 Digicel Cayman has announced an upgrade to its 3G and LTE networks to increase data speeds and ensure 99.9% coverage across Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. As part of the ongoing improvement and upgrade process, Digicel has opted to discontinue its 2G coverage, which will reduce the company’s power consumption while improving its service.

‘By replacing 2G with 3G and LTE we are lowering our carbon footprint and enhancing performance and reliability. It is a win-win for both Digicel and our customers,’ explained Kevin Mullings, Switch Engineer at Digicel Cayman.

Thursday 13 January 2022

MTN highlights the OSS Challenge and Integration with Transport Network

At Layer123 conference, Lloyd Mphahlele, General Manager-Group Technology, responsible for Transport and OSS tools at MTN group, talked about the transforming of the OSS in which he highlighted integration with the operator OSS and management environment as a key challenge that must be addressed to move forward.

In his talk, he covered:

  • The OSS challenge
  • MTN Approach
  • MTN Journey and Use Cases
  • The Road Ahead

The presentation emphasised the Transport Network integration with OSS and touched on the announcement made in partnership with TIP last year regarding MTN Uganda deploying TIP DCSG at scale to advance network automation.

The video of his talk is embedded as follows:

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Sunday 9 January 2022

Lebanon is Deliberating 5G Connectivity

Lebanon’s economic crisis has had a dire effect on the country’s telecom services. Although some progress has been made with developing 5G, the poor economic conditions have contributed to an erratic electricity supply and a lack of fuel to maintain generators. This has meant that internet services to areas of the country are cut on a regular basis, frustrating all those who depend on stable connectivity, and stalling business growth. Adding to the difficulties are the combined stresses of the pandemic and the political crisis. 

There are two operators in Lebanon: Touch (formerly MTC) managed by Zain and Alfa managed by Orascom.

Both of them are owned by the state, but each managed by a foreign telecom company. 2G/GSM is on 900 MHz up to EDGE, 3G on 2100 MHz up to HSPA+ and 4G/LTE has started on both networks on 1800 MHz (Band 3) in 2013. During 2016 both Touch and Alfa implemented substantial 4G/LTE upgrades and expansions. In 2017 there was 85% 4G/LTE coverage of population across most parts of Lebanon. Service quality is quite good, fast and reliable.

Touch, previously called MTC, is state-owned, was managed by the Kuwaiti Zain group. It's the leading provider in Lebanon with about 2/3 of the customer base and the best coverage in 2G and 3G. 4G/LTE has been spread to over 85% of the population in 2017.

Touch has launched the country’s first 5G mobile site, located at its headquarters in downtown Beirut in September 2016. Data speeds of 1.4Gbps were tested at the site, with latency of less than 6ms.

Alfa is state-owned too, but this operator was managed by Egypt-based Orascom Telecom. It calls itself "the leading mobile provider in Lebanon" but in fact is the smaller of the two operators with only 1/3 of all customers.

Yet it's coverage is quite on par and they offer a few more options than the market leader. They have also conducted their own 5G trial.

Recently the Lebanese government has resumed management of state-owned operators Alfa and Touch after operating contracts held by Orascom Telecom Media and Technology (OTMT) and Zain Group, respectively, expired. Minister of Telecommunications Talal Hawat said an international tender for new contracts would be readied within three months, covering management and operation of the businesses.

GSMA Intelligence figures showed Touch held a 50.6 per cent market share by connections at end-2019, with Alfa accounting for the remaining 49.3 per cent.

Thursday 6 January 2022

LMT Explains 5G Routes Project

It's been a few years since we last wrote about Innovations from the Latvian MNO, LMT. They have no doubt continued their innovations and one such project that they are involved in is discussed here.

5G-ROUTES is a 5G-PPP Phase 3 project whose aim is to validate through robust evidence the latest 5G features and 3GPP specifications (R.16 & R.17) of Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM) under realistic conditions. In particular, it will conduct advanced large-scale field trials of most representative CAM applications to demonstrate seamless functionality across a prominent 5G cross-border corridor (Via Baltica-North), traversing Latvia, Estonia and Finland.

Artūrs Lindenbergs, innovation lead at LMT has been very active in this and other projects LMT is participating in. He has been quoted in many articles recently highlighting this and other EU projects. You can see examples here and here.

In the 5G Techritory conference in November 2021, he gave an overview of the 5G Routes project. It is embedded below:

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Sunday 2 January 2022

Cyprus is hoping for 5G to gain ground in 2022

Cyprus has suffered from the effects of the pandemic, which essentially closed down the tourism sector during 2020 and into 2021. Nevertheless, the incumbent telco Cyta reported strong revenue growth in 2020, largely due to greater use of broadband and mobile services, though investment fell as a result of pandemic-related delays in completing planned projects. Cyta has offered mobile services under the Cytamobile-Vodafone brand since 2004 following a partner agreement with Vodafone Group, while Epic was acquired by Monaco Telecom in mid-2018. In mid-2021 Monaco agreed to sell its entire passive infrastructure in Cyprus. The number of mobile subscribers fell in 2020, largely the result of subscribers scaling back on multiple SIM cards as an economic measure.

The island of Cyprus is de facto divided into various jurisdictions here we are focusing on the Greek-speaking part controlled by the government of the Republic of Cyprus (hereinafter referred to as "the South"). In the South different providers operate from in the North, although there is now roaming between the two which wasn't the case in the past. A call between the South and the North is possible, but will be charged as a foreign call to another continent.

For a tourist it's very easy nowadays to cross between the South and North at multiple points and visit the other part. But you should know that you will lose coverage soon after doing so. Furthermore, EU law is suspended in the North, so roaming prices are not regulated. Generally it's not advisable to use a SIM from the South in the North or vice versa.

The networks in South are: Cyta Vodafone, epic (formerly MTN) and PrimeTel.

2G is on 900 and 1800 MHz, 3G on 2100 MHz, 4G/LTE is in the South on all three networks on 1800 MHz (B3) available for prepaid. More spectrum on 800 and 2600 MHz (B20 and B7) followed. There is no 4G/LTE in the North yet.

In 2020 the four provisional winners for 5G licences, Cyta, Epic, Cablenet (an MVNO) and Primetel, all bought 5G spectrum frequencies and started their preparations to develop networks to connect all devices. Cyta and Epic acquired a 2×10 MHz block in the 700 MHz and 100 MHz in the 3.6 GHz, while Cablenet and Primetel acquired a 2×5 MHz block in the 700 MHz and 50 MHz in 3.6 GHz.

Cyta for CYprus Telecommunication Authority is jointly owned by the Government of the Republic of Cyprus and Vodafone and is still the largest operator in the country giving a reasonable coverage at the highest rates around.

4G/LTE started in 2015 in the towns of Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos.

Cyta launched the first 5G network in Cyprus in January 2021.The Cytamobile-Vodafone 5G network has a population coverage of 70 per cent and is expected to reach 98 per cent in around 12 months, the company said. All Cytamobile-Vodafone subscribers, individuals and companies have access to the 5G network at no extra charge. All a subscriber needs is to be to have a 5G device certified on the Cyta network and to be in an area with 5G coverage. At the 5G Techritory Conference 2021, Chrysis Phiniotis, CTIO of CYTA presented a talk on 'CYTA 5G Journey to the Top'. His talk is available here.

Epic is the second network operator in the South: Coverage map. In 2018 it was sold to Monaco Telecom who rebranded it in June 2019 to epic. It offers data at slightly more competitive rates than Cyta at a slightly lower coverage.

4G/LTE started in 2015 on 1800 MHz in major towns and is now available to prepaid users too. In 2017 about 93% of the population of the South is supposed to be covered on 1800 MHz (B3) and 800 MHz (B20). 

The Epic 5G network was also recently launched and is expanding at a very fast pace to soon cover most of the population, along with a wide range of supported mobile devices.

PrimeTel PLC is a multiservice provider with various fixed broadband and mobile services. It is very popular for ADSL, TV and landline phone service in the South. It's the first MVNO in the South too.

It started in 2011 using the Cytamobile network. In 2014 they have been granted a license to build own physical network on 3G and 4G/LTE. It has already covered 60% of territory by its own 4G/LTE and 99% on its own 3G since 2015, making Cyta no more needed, but roaming with Cyta is still operational for 2G (GSM/GPRS/EDGE) modes. 4G/LTE is open for prepaid customers without surcharge. Be aware that 4G coverage is still spotty in rural areas.

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