MOSCOW, July 23 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's top three mobile operators have sent a letter to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin asking him for transparency in the allocation of frequencies for the development of the fourth generations networks, a letter obtained by RIA Novosti said on Friday.
Russia's Defense Ministry holds the bulk of the country's frequencies while in developed countries most frequencies belong to private companies.
Russian media have said that the Defense Ministry has suggested awarding Long Term Evolution (LTE) frequencies covering the whole of Russia to a company set up by it and a private businessman without a tender.
Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov suggested to President Dmitry Medvedev that his ministry create the 4G network alone and Medvedev ordered him to work the idea out with the Telecommunications Ministry.
The "Big Three" operators - Mobile TeleSystems, MegaFon and VimpelCom - asked Putin to change legislation to allow them to use frequencies, including GSM, CDMA and MMDS, allocated for other communication and television technologies, to develop LTE networks.
The companies also requested to legally permit them to use frequencies they possess to develop any technology at their discretion.
The letter said the operators were worried by information about plans to allocate frequencies in favor of newly created small companies. They said that the creation of a nationwide LTE network would require $5-7 billion and 5-7 years which small companies could not afford. The Big Three said that the firms were created to resell the frequencies they will get.
The companies have already sent a letter to Telecommunications Minister Igor Shchegolev asking for transparency in LTE frequencies allocation.
The State Frequencies Commission was to consider setting up LTE test zones on July 2, but failed to do so because of differences of opinion regarding the allocation of frequencies between the Defense and the Telecommunications Ministries.
"The LTE issue is very important for Russia and we thought it our duty to say again that the allocation of frequencies for the LTE must be as transparent as possible," VimpelCom spokeswoman Anna Aibasheva said.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia on Friday threatened to block imports of cellphones and other devices not enabled for its own competitor to widely-used U.S. navigation technology.
Russia has been developing GLONASS, its answer to the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS), since 1976 but cannot yet produce enough chips for mass manufacture of GLONASS-compatible devices.
Russia, as well as other emerging countries like India, is keen to develop GLONASS to lessen dependence on GPS, which is controlled by the United States.
The chief executive of oil-to-telecoms holding company Sistema, which is developing GLONASS, said the firm had held conversations about the technology with manufacturers such as Nokia, Siemens and Motorola.
"They understand that we will close the market for equipment without a GLONASS chip anyway," said Vladimir Yevtushenkov, according to the transcript of a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin posted on the government's website.
"It is good that our partners understand that we will defend our interests and promote our own product," Putin said, citing Russia's experience with global car makers, which opened plants after Russia abolished import duties on car parts.
Yevtushenkov told Putin that foreign firms had accepted the warning: "They will get over it because the Americans at a time when they were moving to GPS also protected their market."
Under Sistema's proposal, consumer navigation devices destined for use in Russia will be required to have a GLONASS receiver alongside the GPS one. Such measure may force gadget makers to move part of production to Russia.
Yevtushenkov said that in 2010 Sistema will have samples of GLONASS-enabled gadgets while mass production of GLONASS-enabled devices may begin in 2011.
Sistema's subsidiary Sitronics is developing chips for GLONASS navigation receivers after licensing a 90 nanometre integrated circuits technology from Europe's top computer chip maker STMicroelectronics.
Russia is also talking to Germany about Sistema's interest in taking a stake in German chipmaker Infineon, a deal that has been mooted since late 2009 although it is not clear whether the purchase is linked to GLONASS chips.
(Editing by David Cowell)
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Polyus Gold and KazakhGold Comment on Recent Media Speculation
Polyus Gold and KazakhGold have noted recent media speculation surrounding the original agreement for Polyus to acquire a 50.1% stake in KazakhGold.
This agreed transaction was publicly announced to the London Stock Exchange in June 2009 and a full circular setting out all the terms and conditions was posted to KazakhGold shareholders and all the related materials were publically available. The Partial Offer, which was governed by English law, was reviewed by regulators in several countries and received all necessary approvals. The acquisition was unanimously approved by the KazakhGold Board of Directors, including the representatives of the Assuabayev family.
The acquisition by Polyus Gold of a 50.1% stake in KazakhGold was approved overwhelming by KazakhGold shareholders. Over 96% of KazakhGold shareholders voted to support the transaction, including the Assaubayev family. The Assaubayev family were responsible for obtaining the waivers from the relevant governmental agencies in Kazakhstan of their preemptive rights under the Kazakh subsoil laws.
Kanat Assaubayev, as Executive Chairman of the Board of KazakhGold, confirmed in the official shareholder circular that Polyus Gold had received all necessary government and regulatory approvals in Kazakhstan to acquire its 50.1% stake in KazakhGold and prior to commencement of the transaction Aidar Assaubayev, for and on behalf of the Company, gave written assurances to Polyus Gold that there were no reasons that would indicate that the approvals are not valid.
Since the original transaction, under which Polyus Gold became Guarantor of KazakhGold’s $200 million Senior Notes due 2013, Polyus Gold has provided two $50 million shareholder loans to support KazakhGold financially. Polyus Gold has also provided management and production assistance to KazakhGold, helping to increase production by 50%.
Polyus Gold is committed to developing KazakhGold’s assets, providing new investment and securing production and jobs in Kazakhstan.
“The agreement for Polyus to acquire a major shareholding in KazakhGold was open, transparent and in the interests of all shareholders. The Assaubayev family supported the transaction, with Kanat Assaubayev confirming that they had received all necessary approvals in Kazakhstan and voted in favour of the deal at the shareholders meeting.
“The combination of KazakhGold and Polyus Gold will create the leading CIS gold producer, provide fresh investment in Kazakstan and secure jobs and production.”
OJSC Polyus Gold is an international company, Russia’s leading gold producer and one of the world’s largest gold mining companies in terms of market capitalization, mineral reserves base and output. The Company’s international asset portfolio includes ore and alluvial deposits in the Krasnoyarsk Territory, the Irkutsk, Magadan and Amur Regions, the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), as well as in the Republic of Kazakhstan and Romania. Gold production of OJSC Polyus Gold totaled 1,3 k oz in 2009.