TeliaSonera Shares Verizon's LTE Tablet Desire
"[An LTE smartphone] has to be a good smartphone," said TeliaSonera CTO of mobility services Lars Klasson in an interview with Light Reading Mobile. "It must be something on the level of the iPhone or Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) N8 to sell it. You can't have some clumsy phone that doesn't work very well." (See TeliaSonera on LTE: Just Do It!, TeliaSonera First to Go Live With LTE, and MWC 2010: TeliaSonera's LTE Progress.)
He stopped short of saying which tablets and which vendors the company had in mind.
Last month, MetroPCS Inc. (NYSE: PCS) became the first, and only, carrier to launch an LTE service with a smartphone -- the multimode LTE/CDMA Craft from Samsung Corp. (See MetroPCS Beats Verizon to LTE in Sin City.)
But TeliaSonera -- which offers a multimode GSM/HSPA/LTE USB dongle from Samsung for its 4G services in Sweden and Norway -- is not alone in its desire for LTE tablets. Verizon Wireless , with its imminent LTE launch in the US, has said it wants to offer an LTE tablet early next year. (See TeliaSonera Beefs Up 4G Dongles , Verizon Prods Apple on LTE , Tablets Prescribed for Verizon, Gadget Watch: Verizon May Be Google's Tablet Pal, and Moto & Verizon Plan TV Tablet.)
But while Verizon has made assumptions, or educated guesses, about what users will want to do on its 4G network, TeliaSonera has gathered information over the last 10 months from its several thousand 4G customers and knows something about what those users have been up to.
It's this information on data usage patterns and user behavior that TeliaSonera says partly explains why it would like an LTE tablet and why it thinks such a device would be suited to how people actually use the 4G network. (See The Tablet Tide Starts to Rise.)
"It's just the way our customers are using the service," said Klasson. And the way he describes the 4G usage scenario is, "more video, more uploads, always on, and always using it."
"If they have 10 times more speed, they use 10 times more capacity," he said. "You're online more and using it more."
Streaming video is a big portion of the new traffic on the network. Klasson said that more people are using the LTE service to watch streamed TV channels. Some are able to use their laptops at home as a second TV, for example. With downlink network speeds that range from 20 Mbit/s to 80 Mbit/s on the LTE network, the mobile video experience on TeliaSonera's LTE network is good, Klasson explained.
This kind of usage is a key reason why tablets with their larger screens, such Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s iPad, appear more attractive to TeliaSonera than smartphones right now.
— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile