LTE received a major boost today, as it was announced by mobile provider Yota that the five major networks will join hands to share Yota's next generation network. According to Reuters, MTS, Vimpelcom, MegaFon, and Rostelecom will all be joining Yota to provide Russia's 141 million citizens with superfast wireless coverage.
Currently, Yota plans to bring LTE to 180 cities by 2014, serving an estimated 70 million people. Figures place Russia's phone subscribers at somewhere around 200 million, so Yota will be serving LTE to a significant portion of potential customers.
The four companies joining will have the option to buy a 25% sake in Yota, according to a report. The deal itself is said to be worth around $2 billion, and will be signed in the presence of Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin, keen to publicise the country's technological advancement.
With other countries now following suit and jumping on the LTE bandwagon, the race is on to provide the best coverage as quickly as possible. Verizon previously announced plans to bring coverage to 110 million Americans by the end of this year, serving around 60 airports and 38 metropolitan areas. This figure was later boosted to 100 areas and 175 million people by year's end.
The UK is not looking to be so lucky. As Ofcom drags its feet in wireless auctioning, estimates place a widespread LTE rollout somewhere in 2014. Meanwhile, countries such as Sweden, Australia and Kenya are already well on their way to bringing widespread coverage, joining in with the global race to 4G.