LTE operators beware: consumer groups are watching your moves very closely, and are prepared to pounce if they believe your claims on speed and coverage do not match reality. At least that is the case in France, where consumer watchdog UFC Que Choisir has filed a legal complaint against Orange France and Vivendi-owned SFR over the claims they have been making about their respective LTE services.
LTE Broadcast is probably still some way ahead in Europe as operators continue to focus on their macro LTE services launches, but the interest in the technology's potential is clearly there. While operators such as EE see cost savings through the optimisation of spectrum and backhaul as an early opportunity for the technology, other use cases are expected to emerge over time, with events currently expected to be the initial launch pad for service offerings.
Xavier Niel, the billionaire founder of Iliad and the man who almost singlehandedly sparked a price war on France's mobile market by introducing low-cost tariffs under start-up mobile operator Free Mobile, is currently assessing deals for operators across Europe, Bloomberg reported.
Bouygues Telecom is on the verge of becoming the third French operator to launch LTE services and said it will already cover 63 per cent of the population or 40 million citizens by the launch date of Oct.1.
Virgin Mobile unveiled plans to offer LTE services in France after signing a "4G Full MVNO" contract with Bouygues Telecom to use the operator's LTE and 3G networks, although it's not clear how this arrangement will affect the MVNO's existing network deals with Orange France and SFR.
UK operators Vodafone and EE have been quick to indicate they will offer the latest iPhones on their LTE networks, rounding off a week of announcements that have seen both operators vying for subscribers to their "4G" plans. Meanwhile Orange claims to have the No. 1 LTE network in France.
The French rollout of LTE continued to progress this week as French operators SFR and Bouygues Telecom revealed their latest developments in the race to cover the market with high-speed mobile services.
LTE is giving Europe's operators a new lease of life in terms of marketing opportunities, while for many consumers LTE represents "true" mobile broadband services. However, what will it take for users to subscribe to LTE plans when they are available in their markets?
Bouygues Telecom said it will launch LTE services across France on Oct. 1, claiming it will be able to provide the high-speed mobile services in 100 cities by that date.
France Telecom said it will adopt Orange as its company name starting July 1, in a move that will finally align the group's corporate and services branding. The move comes as Free Mobile launches its third assault on the French market.