TeliaSonera First to Go Live With LTE
Consumers will be able to buy LTE modems, supplied by Samsung Corp. , and pay for services on TeliaSonera's new LTE city networks in Oslo and Stockholm, although there is a limited number of devices available. Details of the service offering will be released at a press conference in Stockholm today. (See TeliaSonera to Use Samsung LTE, Ericsson, Samsung Make LTE Connection, and Sweden Claims LTE First.)
The LTE networks cover the central areas of the Norwegian and Swedish capitals -- that is, around 150,000 people in Oslo and about 300,000 people in Stockholm.
Users can expect to experience data network speeds of between 20Mbit/s and 80Mbit/s, the TeliaSonera spokesman tells Unstrung.
The first modems TeliaSonera has to offer support only LTE and not GMS or HSPA, which means roaming and handover among 2G, 3G, and the LTE networks is not supported. Modems that can handle 2G, 3G, as well as LTE will be available in the second quarter of 2010.
LTE phones are not TeliaSonera's "main target" now in terms of future device offerings, according to the spokesman, and the operator views LTE as a pure data network.
For the LTE network infrastructure in Oslo, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. has supplied the radio access and core network, as well as operation support systems (OSS) and network planning and optimization services. In Stockholm, Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) provided the radio access, core network, and management systems, as well as the transport infrastructure to connect the base stations. (See Huawei Blazing LTE Trail.)
Ericsson's president of Nordic and Baltics, Mikael Bäckström, notes that not only is TeliaSonera's the first and largest commercial LTE network, but the launch is also ahead of schedule. The plan was to launch in early 2010, Bäckström says. (See TeliaSonera: We'll Do 4G in 2010 and Lars Klasson, CTO & VP of TeliaSonera Mobility.)
With today's launch, even though it is small in scale, TeliaSonera is ahead of the operator pack in evaluating the proto-4G mobile broadband technology.
"An early LTE launch probably doesn't generate significant commercial benefits in the near term, but it does provide TeliaSonera with a very valuable test-bed to learn how to optimize the network and how to align the technology with future services and business models," says Gabriel Brown, senior analyst at Heavy Reading.
"This could provide the carrier with a sustainable competitive advantage a few years down the line as LTE-capable terminals penetrate deeper into the subscriber base," he adds.
Regional LTE RFP pending
There is more LTE business from TeliaSonera up for grabs. The operator revealed today in its press release that "evaluation of suppliers for TeliaSonera's common 4G core network and radio networks in the Nordic and Baltic countries is in progress and vendors will be selected in the beginning of 2010."
So far, TeliaSonera has new spectrum licenses for LTE in Finland, Norway, and Sweden. (See Euro LTE Spectrum Bargain.)
— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung