Scandinavian operator TeliaSonera has become the first mobile network operator to launch commercial LTE mobile broadband services, offering mobile download speeds 10 times faster than standard 3G services.
The services went live in the centres of Oslo and Stockholm on Monday, offering theoretical maximum speeds of 100Mbps and real-world speeds of 20-80Mbps. Mobile users in Norway and Sweden will be able to buy a mobile dongle that supports the ‘4G’ network (the official IEEE definition of that term cites 100Mbps as a minimum speed.)
“We are very proud to be the first operator in the world to offer our customers 4G services,” TeliaSonera mobility chief Kenneth Karlberg said in a statement on Monday. “The use of mobile broadband in the Nordic countries is exploding, and customers need higher speeds and capacity. This is why we launch 4G services in both Stockholm and Oslo.”
At launch, TeliaSonera’s LTE services cover around 400,000 people in the centres of Stockholm and Oslo.
However, the operator said it is adding base stations every day. It will first introduce the services in the largest cities in Sweden and Norway, followed by sites in Finland, where it recently received an LTE licence.
TeleSonera said it hopes to get the licence for a Danish rollout early in 2010.
In a press conference in Stockholm on Monday, Karlberg said LTE makes it possible “to do everything that you can do on the fixed network, but on top of that, [the network adds] the mobility dimension”. He said this combination of mobility and fixed-line-quality speeds and bandwidth would allow for “applications that we haven’t seen so far”.
“We invite those customers who are specifically interested in being early adopters of 4G,” Karlberg said, adding that TeliaSonera knew the LTE experience would not be “perfect from start”.
The first services will cost 599 Swedish crowns (£52) per month. Until 1 July 2010, TeliaSonera is applying no data cap, but after that date it will put a 30GB-per-month cap in place.
The infrastructure for the Stockholm LTE network is being supplied by Ericsson, while the Oslo deployment is based on Huawei equipment.
Huawei also announced on Monday that it has completed its first UK-based LTE trials, held in conjunction with O2, that reached maximum downlink throughput of 150Mbps. The trial took place in the Slough area, where O2’s headquarters are located.
“We are pleased to collaborate with Huawei on this LTE trial, which will allow us to better understand this emerging technology and prepare us in offering our customers next generation mobile broadband services in the future,” O2 chief technology officer Derek McManus said in a statement.