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Yota extends free WIMAX trial offer

Mobile broadband growth is being driven by consumer adoption of smartphones and tablets

Yota, a mobile WiMAX operator in Russia, is extending its free consumer trial period until 31 May 2009. Until that time, holders of WiMAX USB-modems, express-cards and HTC MAX 4G phones will get free access to high-speed wireless internet, to Yota Music, to Yota’s photoblogging service (Yap-Yap), as well as mobile TV (Yota TV) and to online film browsing (Yota Video).

For corporate customers, however, the commercial usage of Yota will start 1 April as previosuly announced.

The ‘Zero Service plan’ for Yota services started on 1 November 2008. As such, first users of Yota have seven months of free internet and the opportunity to fully or partially refund the price of the access devices.

Yota points out that subscribers who bought a ‘4G’ modem or express card before New Year can fully recover their expenses through savings on free internet acces. And all those who join Yota now, in March, having bought a modem or a card, can save 2700 rubles ($80) because of the free offer. This is more than a half of the access device price for USB or express cards.

The free offer makes a smaller dent in the price of the HTC MAX 4G device. The dual-mode WiMAX/GSM touchsccreen handset retails for around $1,200.

Yota holds nationwide spectrum across Russia in the 2.5-2.7GHz frequency band and is rolliing out networks fiorst in Moscow and St Petersburh using Samsung base stations.

According to a Yota spokesperson, speaking to WiMAX Vision at the MWC event in Barcelona event last month, the Russian operators had sold a total of around 30,000 access devices.

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