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4G/3G/WiFi

Ericsson, Huawei Land Vodafone LTE Gig

Vodafone Germany gave Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. further Long Term Evolution (LTE) credibility today by naming the two vendors as its base station upgrade partners. (See VOD Germany Chooses LTE Vendors.)

The carrier, which recently won 12 blocks of spectrum in Germany's auction, says it plans to upgrade all of its base stations to LTE, and extend its current network reach, to ensure broadband mobile coverage countrywide. The operator is obliged to expand its coverage area under the conditions of its 800MHz license. (See German Spectrum Auction Ends, Raises €4.4B and V'fone Germany to Test LTE for Rural Broadband.)

LTE upgrades will begin as soon as September, with 1,500 base stations sporting the new technology by 2011, a plan that would put it ahead of main rival Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT). (See Deutsche Telekom to Trial LTE This Year .)

Vodafone says that in the rural areas where it plans to extend its coverage "in the near future," LTE will provide mobile broadband speeds of 3 Mbit/s "from day one," with faster downlink speeds in the cities.

"Mobile Internet is becoming a real fixed line alternative," states the operator's CEO Friedrich Joussen in a prepared statement.

At least, it might be once LTE devices are available, which could happen as soon as early next year. (See TeliaSonera: LTE Handsets Early Next Year.)

Vodafone Germany has already been testing LTE with Huawei, which, like Ericsson, has a number of LTE engagements around Europe, though it hasn't been all good news for the Chinese vendor in the region. (See Vodafone Tests LTE With Huawei, Telekom Austria Demos LTE, O2 to Test 800MHz LTE in UK , Ericsson Wins TeliaSonera LTE Deal, NSN Replaces Huawei in Euro LTE Rollout, Huawei Beats Ericsson to Swedish LTE Deal, Huawei, Telecom Italia Test LTE, Huawei's Nordic Coup, and Telefónica Kicks Off LTE Trials.)

The carrier's German business appears to be moving ahead of the rest of the Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) pack, which is on course for a lengthier upgrade timetable. (See Vodafone: No Need for LTE 'Til End of 2011.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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