1 mln subscribers and no freebies: first results of Ukraine’s 4G

Миллион абонентов и конец дармовщины: первые итоги 4G в Украине Мільйон абонентів і кінець халяви: перші підсумки 4G в Україні

Free 4G attracted 400,000 subscribers to lifecell. Kyivstar, on its turn, uncorked a nasty surprise to those, who got used to “free launch”.

One million subscribers took advantage of mobile communication of the fourth generation (4G, LTE) over the past week. This was reported by Vodafone and lifecell telecoms operators to Innovation House. On March 30 they switched on 4G on 2600 MHz bands in regional centres of Ukraine, namely in certain areas of these centres shopping malls, squares.

As of April 6, Vodafone had 600,000 4G subscribers, lifecell had 400,000 of them. “To tell the truth, we weren’t expecting such an activity,” told lifecell’s insider to Innovation House.

A total of 110,000 GB of 4G traffic were used by lifecell subscribers within a week, which is equivalent to 10,000,000 minutes of online video watched. Some areas have shown that the volume of traffic used was doubled. Residents of Kyiv, Lviv, Kharkiv, Dnipro, and Odesa cities were the most active ones.

Vodafone, for its part, boasted of 40% increase of 4G internet usage in the zones covered by internet.


lifecell’s press office informed that 4G-traffic was not chargeable during the first week. This special offer will ended up on April 6. In the future its cost will depend on the amount of internet used regardless of the technology. “Subscribers will be able to choose by themselves what technology to use and shall change phone settings accordingly,” lifecell’s press office informed.

At first, Vodafone was charging 4G-traffic as a any other traffic. “The principle applied here is as follows: you pay for the mobile internet, no matter what type of internet, 4G, 3G, or 2G. With the increase of volume of traffic used, we will offer new tariff plans and tariff options that will be based on new user-specific behavior,” Victoria Pavlovska, Media Relations Officer of Vodafone, said.

So far, Kyivstar did not launch its 4G-network, since it is dealing with preparatory activities now. Peter Chernyshov, CEO of Kyivstar, has promised on his Facebook page that the new communication generation will be available on April 10.

Previously, Peter Chernyshov said to Innovation House that Kyivstar will start with provide its sucscribers with test access to 4G. It is highly likely that during the initial period it will not charge for traffic.

No more unlimited internet

Despite the fact that Kyivstar has not yet launched 4G, it is ready for the possible inrush of freebie lovers. Telecoms operator announced that on April 11 it will amend terms and conditions of its internet-access services in unlimited tariff plans. In particular, subscriber will be offered no more than 6 GB of traffic per day of 3G/4G speed. Then the speed will be limited to 1.8 Mbps, which is not sufficient to full enjoyment of the internet.

“Statistics shows that 0.5% of subscribers regularly use inordinate volume of mobile internet – more than 100,000 MB per month. These subscribers overload operator’s network and significantly slow down the internet speed for the remaining 99.5% of subscribers,” – reported the company. Accordingly, telecoms operators treat restrictions as protection of subscribers against discrimination and equitable access provision to the services.

Kyivstar said that most of the subscribers will feel no changes. After all, 6,000 MB of traffic is quite enough for seven hours of video viewing or 82 hours of listening to decent quality music.

lifecell and Vodafone had no fully unlimited internet, and therefore they faced no excessive traffic consumption problems.

So far, 4G coverage is far from ideal. Telecoms operators clearly warned that they will start from covering of the most crowded places – squares, shopping malls, parks. Replacement of old SIM cards with 4G-compatible cards is continuing. People are still lining up near the service centers.

Telecoms operators say that in this July they will launch 4G on 1800 MHz, which will expand 4G coverage compared to the present situation.