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    Chinese telecommunications equipment maker Huawei and Russian mobile operator MegaFon have signed agreements aimed at making 5G mobile internet available at the 2018 FIFA World Cup host cities, which might make Russia the first country in the world with a functioning 5G network, company representatives have said.

    MOSCOW, November 19 (Sputnik) — Chinese telecom giant Huawei and Russian mobile operator MegaFon signed an agreement to make 5G internet available at Russian host cities in time for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which could possibly make Russia the first country in the world with a functioning 5G network.

    Ryan Ding, President of Huawei’s Products and Solutions division, stated that “with the help of MegaFon, we are confident [in our ability to turn the] science-fiction-like service into 5G reality for citizens in Russia and soccer fans around the world, two years ahead of the industry’s estimated 5G introduction date of 2020.”

    The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding on Wednesday at the Huawei Global Mobile Broadband Forum 2014 in Shanghai. The memorandum calls for joint efforts toward technology standardization (given that 5G presently has no agreed upon standard), as well as efforts to determine the technical and infrastructure requirements. The agreement also calls for the creation of a team of company specialists to conduct joint trials on the new technology.Plans exist to deploy a series of pilot terminals in trial zones by the summer of 2017 across multiple Russian cities, mostly in European Russia. These would then become fully functioning and accessible in time for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

    A spokesperson from MegaFon told Sputnik that the company expects the 5th generation mobile wireless technology to significantly improve the efficiency and speed of mobile wireless technology. This includes an expansion of the range of frequencies available for use, improved network capacity, and an increase in the speed of data transfer, bringing it close to the theoretical maximum. For consumers, this means the ability to download videos in a fraction of a second, along with near instant connections to streaming video. Network response time delay is expected to amount to less than one millisecond.

    5G proponents and developers also expect the new technology to result in better coverage, reduced network load factor, and overall higher reliability of communications.

    Mikhail Dubin, MegaFon’s Executive Director of Business Development noted in a statement that the company is ready for the challenge, stating that it has regularly been “early adopters of new communications standards.” Dubin was delighted to note that “thanks to the agreements, Russia will be among the first countries where the latest generation of mobile telephony will appear.” MegaFon became the first mobile operator to offer 4G at an Olympic Games, doing so in Sochi this past February.

    Earlier this year, the company was also among the first to introduce LTE-Advanced, a mobile internet standard which offers data transfer speeds of up to 300 mb/s. The company worked in cooperation with Huawei on the latter, using Huawei hardware.

    Huawei’s Ding noted that his company “has made significant progress in the development of the 5G standard,” and that “the 2018 FIFA World Cup is a unique platform to demonstrate our leadership in this area.” Ding noted his confidence in MegaFon, stating that the company is “the most promising and innovative telecom operator in Russia.”

    Japanese mobile operator NTT Docomo had earlier announced that it would have 5G capability in time for the 2020 games, while South Korean tech companies also expect to see the technology go live in the country by then.


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