Rostelecom became the second Russian operator to gain clearance to test 5G services, after the State Commission for Radio Frequencies (SCRF) awarded it additional spectrum.

The move creates an unusual situation in that only two of Russia’s four mobile operators are now approved to trial 5G: SCRF’s clearance for Rostelecom positions it alongside rival MegaFon which is already conducting tests in spectrum suitable for the next generation technology.

SCRF granted Rostelecom spectrum in the 3.4GHz, 3.8GHz, 24.25GHz and 29.5GHz bands, but rejected a similar application from MTS and delayed a decision on a request from Beeline, reported.

While the reasons for SCRF’s rejection of MTS’ application were not revealed, reports earlier this month suggested the watchdog had decided not to provide any operators with additional spectrum for 5G testing amid concerns the spectrum could interfere with space agency Roscosmos operations.

The regulator awarded MegaFon spectrum in the 3.4GHz to 3.8GHz and 25.25GHz and 29.50GHz bands in July 2017, which the operator aims to use in a series of 5G test zones during the 2018 FIFA World Cup taking place in the country during summer.

MegaFon and Rostelecom announced a strategic partnership in November 2017 covering joint development of 5G networks, in a move designed to reduce the costs.