MWC 2009: The Need for Speed

BARCELONA -– Mobile World Congress 2009 -– While some companies here are talking about the next steps for mobile broadband and the benefits it can bring to mobile operators and their customers, some carriers are getting on with deployments and showing the way.

In Europe, Telia Company is set to add further countries to its early foray into Long-Term Evolution (LTE), the so-called 4G technology that's set to take mobile data peak downlink rates beyond 170 Mbit/s and provide average downlink speeds of 34 Mbit/s. (See TeliaSonera: We'll Do 4G in 2010.)

The carrier has already announced two city networks: in the Swedish capital of Stockholm and Norway's capital, Oslo, where the carrier already has 2.6 GHz spectrum for LTE. (See TeliaSonera Gets 4G Spectrum.)

That's only the beginning, though. The operator's CTO for Mobility Services, Lars Klasson, told Light Reading that TeliaSonera plans to do the same in Finland, Denmark, and Lithuania before the end of the year, providing it can secure the required spectrum licenses, and will ultimately roll out LTE in all the markets where it has infrastructure. Those markets include: Estonia and Latvia in Eastern Europe; and Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Georgia, and Moldova in the region TeliaSonera calls Eurasia.

That could mean more early LTE business and experience for TeliaSonera's LTE vendors, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC).

On the other side of the world, Telstra Corp. Ltd. (ASX: TLS; NZK: TLS) has further plans to ramp up its mobile broadband services to cutting-edge speeds. The carrier's CEO, Sol Trujillo, tells Light Reading that 21 Mbit/s peak rate services based on a new upgrade of its High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) network will be available from next week, initially to business users but expanding to residential customers by April.

That's actually a bit later than originally planned, but still significantly ahead of many of the carrier's peers. (See Telstra Pushes HSPA Limits.)

Trujillo also said he plans to take that up another level later this year and introduce the 42 Mbit/s service that Telstra's mobile infrastructure vendor partner Ericsson has been showing off here in Barcelona. (See Ericsson Pumps Up HSPA.)

Telstra's not just looking to pump up the mobile broadband market in Australia -– its subsidiary, Hong Kong CSL Ltd. , is to deploy an entirely new network this year that has just been tested to deliver 21 Mbit/s and enable a smooth migration to LTE. (See MWC 2009: SDR Coup for ZTE.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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