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Moscow’s smart city plans boosted by 5G pilot zone

After having put in place an advanced mobile network infrastructure prior to the FIFA World Cup 2018, Moscow is now aiming to launch a 5G pilot next year.

The government of Moscow in cooperation with Russian operator Megafon plan to start permanently testing the 5G pilot zone in early 2019 whereas the commercial launch of 5G networks will take place in 2022.

Four key industries will be targeted: healthcare, transport, construction and housing utilities. One of the pilot projects will involve ultrasound diagnostics remotely operated via 5G networks. Another project will involve the launching of drones for monitoring construction sites through a high-speed network.

None of the World cup's connectivity success would've happened without the huge investments made ahead of the World Cup that boosted Moscow's connectivity infrastructure and made the event the most connected World Cup in history.

Russian telecom operators invested around 1.3 billion rubles (around $20m) into Moscow ICT infrastructure at the stadiums, training bases, transport stations, airports, fan zones, hotels, media centers and management headquarters.

The IT Department of the Moscow Government (DIT) released statistics showing the enormity of the event: Visitors transferred 144 Pbytes of data over the mobile network which is equal to 72 trillion photos on Facebook, 11 thousand films in 4K format or 3,000 copies of the digitized fund of the largest library in Moscow. In total there have been 7.5 billion interactions with official FIFA digital platforms.

Wind tunnel for cutting edge technologies, the four FIFA venues: Luzhniki stadium, Spartak stadium, FIFA Fan Fest Sparrow Hills, and FIFA Fan Fest Spartak stadium experienced the deployment of a total of 1300 cell towers, 55 mobile cell sites and 25 000 km of fiber line to achieve such a reliable result.

"In cooperation with mobile operators we have developed a sophisticated digital ecosystem providing solid mobile network and extensive Wi-Fi coverage for our visitors," said Andrey Belozerov, Strategy and Innovations Advisor to CIO of Moscow.

He added, "At first we expected 30-35k visitors at FIFA Fan Fest Sparrow Hills, but during the first day 70k visitors arrived and it exceeded our expectations. We had to scale up our networks to withstand a peaking load. We believe that we have managed to provide an infrastructure for everyone to share this moment with their friends abroad."