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TeliaSonera Prices First LTE Offer

Talk about a holiday sale! Some consumers in Stockholm can get the world's first LTE service for just 4 Swedish Kronor ($0.56) per month until July 1.

That's the initial offer from Telia Company for the proto-4G mobile broadband service it launched today in the Swedish capital, as well as in Oslo, Norway. The offer, which bundles LTE access along with other mobile data services, includes a Samsung Corp. LTE modem as well as a separate 3G modem. (See TeliaSonera First to Go Live With LTE.)

After July 1, the LTE tariff will be 599 Swedish Kronor ($84) per month and there will be a charge for the LTE modem, but the operator has not set a price for that.

Over in Oslo, consumers can get TeliaSonera's LTE service, including the modem, for just 1 Norwegian Kronor ($0.17) per month until April 1, after which the monthly tariff goes up to 699 Norwegian Kronor ($120) and there will be a fee for the modem.

The monthly data usage limit in both markets is 30GByte.

Part of the reason for the low introductory offer is that the first modem available supports only LTE and not 3G, according to Lars Klasson, senior VP and CTO for mobility services at TeliaSonera. A multi-mode 2G/3G/LTE modem, which will be given to early LTE customers as a free exchange for their first modems, is expected to be available in the second quarter of next year.

But another reason for the low initial price could be that TeliaSonera views the first few months that the service is running as a learning process.

"The first customers will help us to develop this pioneering service and will have very attractive terms and conditions to do that," said Kenneth Karlberg, president and head of mobility services of TeliaSonera, at the service launch press conference today. "We'll have an open dialogue with early customers [about] how they experience our products and services."

Karlberg said he recognized the limitations of the service in terms of the number of devices he had available and their ability to support only LTE for now, as well as the limited network coverage in each city. But he said that with both networks available, "we wanted to launch for those customers who want to explore this new technology together with us and we also need to learn about those possibilities."

Beyond the introductory offers, LTE services will be more expensive than 3G services and have higher data usage limits, explained Karlberg.

"This follows the existing Internet speed logic from the fixed side... and the already established price logic for mobile data with volume caps," he said.

Today Oslo, and Stockholm tomorrow...
Karlberg remarked about today's LTE launch, "This is only the beginning."

Karlberg said TeliaSonera plans to roll out the LTE network to 25 cities and vacation areas in Sweden as well as three big Norwegian cities throughout 2010. He also said the operator expects to launch LTE services in Finland next year, where it has just won a new license. In addition, Karlberg said an LTE spectrum auction in Denmark is anticipated to take place in the first quarter of next year.

The capital expenditure for TeliaSonera's LTE buildout in 2010 in Norway and Sweden will come to 500 million Swedish Kronor ($70 million), noted Karlberg.

For TeliaSonera's "bigger" LTE network rollout, Karlberg said that the operator had a new vendor selection process going on now and that he expects to have the results from the evaluation in January next year. The winners will be based on "price and quality, as always," he said.

The networks in Oslo and Stockholm are supplied by Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), respectively. (See Huawei Blazing LTE Trail and Lars Klasson, CTO & VP of TeliaSonera Mobility.)

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

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