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4G/3G/WiFi

Deutsche Telekom Reveals Next LTE Move

Ahead of the imminent launch of its commercial Long Term Evolution (LTE) rural broadband service in Germany, Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) already has plans for further deployments of the next-generation mobile broadband technology.

Beyond the rural rollout, Deutsche Telekom's next LTE move will be deployment in hotspots and high-usage areas using spectrum in the 1800MHz frequency band, according to a spokeswoman from the operator.

This is the first indication Deutsche Telekom has given about which spectrum it will use for future LTE deployments, though the operator didn't specify when the hotspot rollout at 1800MHz would begin.

The choice of 1800MHz is interesting because Deutsche Telekom will be one of the first operators to roll out LTE in this spectrum; Poland's Mobyland Sp. z o.o. is so far the only operator to deploy an LTE network at 1800MHz, using equipment from Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. (See Poland Taps Huawei for First LTE.)

The move will also have implications for device makers as they will have to support yet another frequency for LTE terminals.

Deutsche Telekom has spectrum suitable for LTE in the 800MHz, 1800MHz, and 2600MHz bands, which it acquired in an auction in May this year. The 800MHz spectrum, for now, is earmarked for rural broadband coverage, due to an obligation attached to Deutsche Telekom's license. (See DT Takes First Orders for LTE Service , Deutsche Telekom to Trial LTE This Year , and German Spectrum Auction Ends, Raises €4.4B.)

Deutsche Telekom was undecided about whether it would use 1800MHz or 2600MHz -- the frequency Telia Company uses for its LTE services in Sweden and Norway -- for future LTE rollouts as recently as September, when Light Reading Mobile interviewed Guido Menzel, the carrier's senior VP of core network and service management.

At that time, Menzel said a key factor in the decision-making process was device availability -- as in, what terminals Deutsche Telekom would be able to source, and when.

Focus on the white spots
The operator stresses, however, that its LTE focus right now is on building out a network using 800MHz spectrum to cover the so-called "white spots" in the country, where there is little or no broadband access. This rural LTE deployment is a requirement attached to the 800MHz licenses that Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica O2 Germany GmbH & Co. OHG , and Vodafone Germany each acquired in the spectrum auction in May this year. (See German Operators Get Busy With LTE , Vodafone Germany Gears Up for LTE , Ericsson, Huawei Land Vodafone LTE Gig, and DT Does LTE With NSN .)

Deutsche Telekom plans to launch this LTE service, branded "Call & Surf Comfort via Funk" in 1,000 rural locations by the end of this year. The first terminal available with this service is a WiFi/LTE router from Huawei.

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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