LTE Showdown in Sweden

Telia Company is no longer the only Long Term Evolution (LTE) service provider in Sweden now that Tele2 AB (Nasdaq: TLTO) and Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) have today launched next-generation mobile broadband services in the country. (See Tele2 Launches LTE in Sweden.)

Tele2 and Telenor built the LTE network together through their network-sharing joint venture, Net4Mobility, but the operators launched separate and competing LTE services today. The services are available now in the cities of Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmo, and Karlskrona. (See Swedish Operators Join Forces in LTE Race.)

The operators say that average data rates on the LTE network will be between 20 Mbit/s and 40 Mbit/s. Both operators are offering a dual-mode 3G/LTE USB dongle from Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. for the LTE services.

Tele2's LTE service costs 299 Swedish Kronor (US$43) per month for the first 12 months when customers sign up to an 18-month contract; after that, the monthly tariff increases to 499 Swedish Kronor ($72) for the next six months.

Telenor's LTE service costs 549 Swedish Kronor ($80) per month on either 18- or 24-month contracts. Telenor is offering the first six months for free when users opt for 24-month contracts.

The operators will add 11 more Swedish cities to their LTE coverage by the end of March 2011. And by the end of 2012, they aim to cover 99 percent of the Swedish population.

Why this matters
This is the world's first LTE network whereby two operators share the infrastructure, and it is one of the world's first commercial next-generation mobile broadband networks after TeliaSonera and MetroPCS Inc. (NYSE: PCS).

TeliaSonera has had a head start of almost a full year as the only operator with a commercial LTE network in Sweden. Now, the country is the first to have three competing LTE services, which could result in lower mobile broadband prices and more innovative offerings. Price competition is already evident: Both Tele2 and Telenor have priced their initial LTE services below TeliaSonera's tariff of 599 Swedish Kronor ($87) for the equivalent service. (See TeliaSonera Blazes LTE Trail of Tiers .)

From the network equipment point of view, the Net4Mobility network in Sweden is the second commercial LTE launch for Huawei, which also supplied TeliaSonera's LTE network in Oslo, Norway.

For more
For more on LTE in Sweden and network sharing, check out the following related stories. — Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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