Tele2 have launched their next-generation mobile broadband network in four cities in Sweden today which will offer fast broadband speeds of up to 80 Mbps. The new technology, LTE (Long Term Evolution), is marketed as a fourth generation (4G) network but in reality, it doesn't meet the ITU standards to be called this. Despite this, the technology will offer vast improvements to mobile broadband speeds.
The service is available for 289 Swedish Kronor (roughly £26 a month) and includes an LTE modem which can support download speeds of 100 Mbps and 50 Mbps upload, whilst the network is configured for 80 Mbps down and 40 Mbps up. Failover to 3G and 2G (GPRS) is also supported should you venture out of an LTE area. The four launch cities are Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö and Karlskrona, with a further 11 planned by March and many more before the end of 2011.
"Today is a great day as we open the 4G network in the major cities of Sweden while the roll-out continues at a rapid pace all over the country. More and more people cut fixed telephony at home to become mobile. The same development will happen on the fixed broadband market with the 4G technology. Today we are proud to open the doors to what will be Sweden's most comprehensive 4G network.
Faster mobile connections allow our customers to do all the things they are used to doing via the fixed ADSL connection but through the 4G network."Niclas Palmstierna, (CEO) Tele2 Sweden
Whilst other European countries are progressing with deployments of new technology such as LTE, the UK is lagging behind, mainly due to the auction of frequency bands that can be used for the technology being delayed. Without licenses to operate on the 800MHz and 2600MHz bands, operators will be limited to running trials. Some delays will also be faced by 800MHz deployments as this spectrum is currently in use by TV services until the Digital Switch Over completes. In the mean time, we may be limited to seeing expanded rollouts of 3G through advice suggesting the liberalisation of 2G radio spectrum to be used by 3G services. This will help improve 3G availability but it is a shame that LTE will not be able to be offered to fill-in areas where deploying next-generation fixed-broadband services is prohibitively expensive, such as rural areas deemed the 'final third'.