DT Takes First Orders for LTE Service

Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) is gearing up for commercial Long Term Evolution (LTE) services in Germany with the launch of a "4G" Website where consumers can register for the next-generation wireless broadband offering.

The carrier plans to launch its LTE service -- branded (seriously) "Call & Surf Comfort via Funk" -- in 1,000 rural locations by the end of 2010. (See Deutsche Telekom to Trial LTE This Year and German Operators Get Busy With LTE .)

Deutsche Telekom isn't the only German operator with LTE news. Rival Vodafone Germany just took the wraps off new tariffs for its LTE service -- dubbed "LTE Zuhause" (LTE At Home) -- which it plans to launch by December this year, even though it will roll out its LTE network by the end of September. (See Vodafone Prices LTE , Ericsson, Huawei Land Vodafone LTE Gig, and V'fone Germany to Test LTE for Rural Broadband.)

The two operators appear to be neck-and-neck in a race to meet regulatory obligations to bring broadband access to under-served regions of the country by using LTE over their newly won 800MHz spectrum. Vodafone says it will cover 1,000 municipalities by the end of this year with LTE, while Deutshe Telekom says it will offer the LTE service in 500 locations by year-end.

Next year, Deutsche Telekom says it plans to use LTE to fill in another 1,000 broadband access coverage "gaps," while Vodafone says it plans to have covered a total of 1,500 municipalities by March 2011.

Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, as well as Telefónica O2 Germany GmbH & Co. OHG -- which each won 800MHz licenses in the recent spectrum auction -- are prioritizing rural broadband coverage for LTE because, basically, they have to in order to meet their license conditions. The coverage obligations attached to the 800MHz licenses require operators to roll out LTE to areas that don't have access to mobile broadband before they'll be allowed to deploy services in more populated, urban areas. (See German Spectrum Auction Ends, Raises €4.4B.)

Neither Deutsche Telekom nor Vodafone have specified which devices they'll offer to customers when they launch commercial LTE services, but they're likely to start with USB sticks.

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

digits 12/5/2012 | 4:24:36 PM
re: DT Takes First Orders for LTE Service

Maybe some other countries cold take a leaf out of Germany's book by stipulating initial LTE coverage in areas of sparse broadband coverage before providing urban users with yet another way to access the Internet at speed. It'll be interesting to track the uptake rates in Germany.

joset01 12/5/2012 | 4:24:30 PM
re: DT Takes First Orders for LTE Service

Verizon has been pushing the rural LTE angle hard for a while now. Of course, LTE means it can get more people off DSL connections.

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