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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sonic Duo Almost Fit For Market

Moscow's frequency-strapped third cellular operator Sonic Duo has received rights to some frequencies in the E-GSM range but needs more for its network to function fully, a company spokeswoman said Monday.

Sonic Duo, which is jointly run by Sonera of Finland and subsidiaries of Russian state telecoms holding Svyazinvest, is still expecting to join established operators Vimpelcom and Mobile TeleSystems on the Moscow market in the third quarter, Sonic spokeswoman Marina Belasheva said.

She said Sonic Duo expected to have a full complement of frequencies in the 900 megahertz band by the time it launches its network.

Sonic was licensed to operate a pan-European standard GSM 900/1800 network in May 2000 and was granted GSM 1800 frequencies in December. But regulators are pressed to find frequencies in the 900 band, occupied by existing operators and military air traffic control.

The company had been aiming to go live in the second quarter of this year but delayed the launch to the third quarter, giving a few months' breathing space to MTS and Vimpelcom.

Sonic said in a statement Monday the Russian Radio Frequencies Commission on July 9 had granted permission to use E-GSM, the extended frequencies bandwidths outside the regular GSM-900 band. It received rights to a few regular GSM 900 frequencies a few days earlier.

Roman Prokolov, an adviser to Sonic's general director, said the frequencies now allotted to the company would be enough for commercial launch.