3 Italia unveiled a €1 billion (US$1.3 billion), two-year network upgrade plan to expand coverage, increase data speeds and launch next-generation Long Term Evolution (LTE) in 2012. The operator said it will deploy 2,000 additional cell sites, which will add coverage for 800 new communities. 3 Italia also said it will upgrade the entire 3G network in the country to 42 Mbit/s during 2012, data speeds which are only available now in Milan, Rome, Palermo and Bologna. The network upgrade also calls for the rollout of 100Mbit/s optical links to the base stations to support the increases in mobile data traffic. In addition to the network changes, 3 also announced new mobile data tariffs specifically for tablet, dongle and Wi-Fi users. The new tablet plan costs €29 ($39) per month for 30GBytes of data Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s iPad 2 and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC)'s Galaxy Tab 10.1. For 3's 42Mbit/s dongles and Wi-Fi devices, the new tariff will be €14 ($18) per month for 15GBytes of data. (See Euronews: Italians Pay €3.9B for Spectrum.)
In the Netherlands, the NMa competition authority raided the offices of mobile operators KPN, T-Mobile and Vodafone as it launched an investigation into price fixing for consumer mobile services in the country. It's not the first time that the operators have been in trouble for anti-competitive, cartel-like behavior, according to Reuters. In a different price-fixing investigation, KPN, T-Mobile and Vodafone were fined €7.93 million ($10.6 million), €4.6 million ($6.2 million) and €3.72 million ($5 million), respectively.