GSMA THRIVE EURASIA: MegaFon became the latest player to look skywards for solutions to providing high-capacity services in remote areas, with CEO Gevork Vermishyan stating a low Earth orbit satellite project backed by the operator could be a huge revenue generator.

The scheme, titled MegaFon 1440, was unveiled late last month and aims to supply connectivity to complement the operator’s terrestrial networks. At the time the company noted it aimed to use the system to beam high-capacity connectivity to remote, hard to reach areas for both consumer and IoT devices.

Vermishyan said it would provide an alternative transport model he hoped would outperform the cost of supply through traditional means, when taking into account fees related to installation and maintenance of terrestrial fibre.

He added it was “fascinating to think what the cost to the end user on earth is going to be”.

The company plans to invest RUB6 billion ($78.7 million) in R&D and testing for the project in the first two years.

In addition to discussing its satellite project, the executive said as with other operators in the Russian market, the company needed to “aim at more sustainable economic models” in deployment of 5G, while noting savings able to be made from use of AI within the network and for customer services.