Ericsson, Huawei to build LTE network for TeliaSonera

Swedish operator TeliaSonera will launch mobile services based on the Long Term Evolution standard during 2010, it said on Thursday.

A roll-out in Stockholm and Oslo is under way using equipment from Ericsson and Huawei. Both companies say the deal is their first commercial contract for an LTE network.

TeliaSonera's goal is to be one of the first operators in the world to launch LTE-based services, according to a statement.

The move to LTE will increase the speed in mobile networks, but to exactly what remains to be seen.

"You will have a speed up to about 100Mbps in the beginning, and the average capacity in a network will increase by a factor of 10 compared to today's HSPA [High Speed Packet Access] networks," said Mikael Bäckström, president of Ericsson Nordic and Baltics.

What kind of speeds users end up with also has to do with, for example, how many base stations operators end up installing, Bäckström said.

Applications will include downloading HDTV, without having to wait an eternity, according to Bäckström.

At first networks will be accessed using modems, either external USB modems or those built into laptops. Then it will take another six to 12 months before the first mobile phones are launched, which means they won't be available until 2011, according to Geoff Blaber, an analyst at CCS Insight.

TeliaSonera isn't the only operator showing an interest in LTE. More than 18 operators globally have announced LTE deployment plans, and the tough economy does not seem to have dampened their enthusiasm, according to ABI Research.

The operator with the most aggressive roll-out plans seems to be Verizon Wireless. At the end of 2008 the operator said it expected an LTE service to launch somewhere in the U.S. by the end of this year.

Most operators are far from that aggressive. Many are looking at a 2011-2012 timeframe, according to ABI Research.

An important next step for the technology will be the completion of the first version of the LTE standard. That will happen during the first quarter, Bäckström said.

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