Beeline dismantles 340 cell sites because of radiophobia in Kazakhstan

Senior business correspondent
Photo: Shutterstock

In 2022, mobile operator Beeline was forced to dismantle 340 cell sites because of radiophobia, according to the company’s press service.

In October 2022, there were 50 spots in Almaty and 20 spots in Astana where the quality of mobile connections decreased due to radiophobia. Residents demanded the company either to not install or to dismantle telecommunication equipment in the areas where they live.

In 2021, Beeline failed to install about 40% of its planned cell sites. The company noted that the problem is not the equipment – there is plenty of it in stock.

The government of Kazakhstan also considers radiophobia as one of the key obstacles to comprehensive digitalization. In accompanying documents to the national project called Accessible Internet, the Digital Ministry noted that radiophobia has been an obstacle to mobile network development all over the globe for years. Now, when the world is ready to embrace the 5G standard, many people stand against installing 5G sites near their apartment buildings.

«When we dismantle cell sites, this worsens the mobile signal because of longer distance between transmitting sets and increasing traffic. It’s not an easy task to find any alternative in an urban environment,» the ministry said.

The current legislation in Kazakhstan requires mobile operators to dismantle their cell sites even if one individual demands companies to do so. At the same time, Kazakhstani authorities plan to cover with 5G about 75% of the territory in Almaty, Astana and Shymkent and 60% of the territory in the regional centers within five years.

«In order to fight radiophobia we need changes in the legislation on installing and dismantling of telecommunication equipment. For instance, we can use double-purpose pylons in big cities,» the national project developers say.

In December 2022, the consortium of two mobile operators under Kazakhtelecom’s control, Mobile Telecom Service (Tele2 and Altel brands) and Kcell (Kcell and Active brands), acquired 5G frequencies in the range of 3,600 to 3,800 MHz. It is going to deploy the 5G network of 3,500 cell sites in 20 cities throughout the country within five years. The Digital Ministry is going to hold a bidding for additional 5G frequencies at the end of 2023 or the beginning of 2024.

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