TeliaSonera Hits 3G Switch
The country’s largest carrier (boasting a subscriber base of 3.7 million in a total population of 9 million) is set to join newcomer Hutchison 3G Ltd. as the only carriers to have launched 3G services among the Nords (see 3 Launches in Sweden and 3 Sweden Extends 3G Coverage ).
Rival Swedish 3G license holders Europolitan Vodafone AB and Tele2 AB (Nasdaq: TLTO) are yet to announce launch plans, following a regulatory decision last year to relax rules on 3G deployment (see Europe Relaxes on 3G).
The commercial launch of the TeliaSonera 3G service follows a trial period last year for 500 customers, running over LM Ericsson's (Nasdaq: ERICY) UMTS kit (see TeliaSonera Upgrades 3G).
“It is a nationwide launch covering 75 percent of the Swedish population,” says TeliaSonera spokesman Hans G. Larsson. “All major cities will have 3G by tomorrow.”
Analysts claim the rollout will provide an early indication of the potential market demand for 3G services. “It’s a country where new technologies are welcomed by early adopters,” says IDC senior analyst Paolo Pescatore. “It will be a serious testbed for how 3G services will take off.”
Despite its aggressive stance in Sweden, TeliaSonera is less bullish on the timescale for its Finnish 3G service. “We haven’t decided on a launch date there yet,” admits Larsson. “We will start in Sweden and see how it goes.” (See TeliaSonera Plans 3G Launch.)
UMTS is the 3G upgrade to the GSM standard, using a wideband-CDMA (W-CDMA) air interface on top of the GSM core network to increase voice capacity and boost data-transfer speeds to a possible 2 Mbit/s.
— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung