OSW Report

Digitalisation under surveillance

The development of the 5G network in Russia
Cover of the report "Digitalisation under surveillance"

The digital transformation has become one of the Russian government’s economic priorities during Vladimir Putin’s fourth presidential term. At its core has been the development of ICT infrastructure, and especially the deployment of fifth-generation mobile networks (5G). The development of the digital sector has been dominated by security issues, which are seen as more important than technical or financial efficiency. It is expected that Russia’s 5G infrastructure will rely on Russian technologies, software and devices, and state bodies have been heavily involved in its implementation. As a result of a fierce rivalry between the main actors vying to influence the course of the digital transformation, its master plan is still in the process of being formulated. As regards the 5G network, the dispute centres on two issues: the choice of the operator market model (with the government opting for an infrastructure monopoly) and the choice of radio frequencies (with the security agencies opposing the release of the most prospective bands).