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4G/3G/WiFi

MWC 2011: Telstra Sticks With Ericsson for LTE

BARCELONA -- Mobile World Congress 2011 -- Australian operator Telstra Corp. Ltd. (ASX: TLS; NZK: TLS) announced today that it plans to launch a Long Term Evolution (LTE) network by the end of this year using equipment from current 3G infrastructure supplier Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and device supplier Sierra Wireless Inc. (Nasdaq: SWIR; Toronto: SW).

The operator said it would deploy the next-generation mobile network in the central business districts of Australia's capital cities using 1800MHz spectrum by the end of this year, but did not give a more specific launch date during a press conference here at the MWC in Barcelona.

The LTE network will be integrated with the operator's dual-carrier HSPA+ network, which has peak downlink speeds of up to 42 Mbit/s. And the Sierra Wireless PC cards, powered by Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) chipsets, which will be used for the service, will support both HSPA+ and LTE.

Why this matters
Telstra's selection of Ericsson for the LTE network was not a given, so it is significant that the Swedish vendor has retained its existing customer. The operator evaluated other suppliers during a trial last year, including Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and Nokia Networks . In fact, Huawei showcased an LTE demonstration with Telstra using the 1,800MHz frequency band. (See Telstra, Huawei Do LTE at 1800MHz, Telstra & NSN Test 100-Mbit/s LTE, Telstra Talks LTE Trials, Huawei in on Telstra LTE Trial and Telstra Checks Out LTE .)

Telstra CEO David Thodey told Light Reading Mobile that the decision to go with Ericsson came down to "a mixture of technology and financials."

Also, from a technology point of view, Telstra's LTE network will be one of the world's first LTE networks to use 1,800MHz spectrum. The only LTE network that has launched in this spectrum so far is Mobyland Sp. z o.o. in Poland, which uses equipment from Huawei. Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) is also considering the 1,800MHz band for future LTE rollouts. (See Poland Taps Huawei for First LTE and Deutsche Telekom Reveals Next LTE Move .)

Having an operator like Telstra support this frequency band will help equipment suppliers and device makers with economies of scale. On the other hand, it compounds the issue of the myriad frequency bands that device makers will have to support for LTE.

For more
Telstra has one of the fastest 3G networks as it supports dual-carrier HSPA+ with up to 42Mbit/s downlink speeds.



— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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