Commercial LTE rollouts are gathering momentum across Europe, and it seems barely a day goes past without another operator announcing a new launch. This week has seen new launches in Belgium and the Czech Republic, as well as in the tiny principality of Monaco, while Bouygues Telecom also became the third operator to launch LTE in France.
In Belgium, KPN-owned BASE Belgium became the second operator to launch LTE services after Belgacom, and said the services are now available in 15 cities across the country. It is promising theoretical speeds of up to 86 Mbps, and said the services are available to subscribers of its B-39, B-49, B-59, BASE Check 35 and Internet Anywhere 30 plans.
"Rolling out 4G is necessary in order to meet the new needs of our customers," stressed CEO Jos Donvi. "In recent years we've seen the number of smartphones and the data usage on these devices skyrocket."
Mobistar is now the only Belgian operator without an LTE offering, and has said it plans to launch the high-speed mobile data plans later this year.
Meanwhile, in the Czech Republic T-Mobile said it has launched commercial LTE services in Prague and Mlada Boleslav. Both Telefónica's O2 Czech Republic and Vodafone Czech Republic also offer LTE services to consumers.
The three Czech mobile operators also plan to take part in a spectrum auction that continues to be dogged by legal challenges over the regulator's plans to reserve some of the 800 MHz and 1800 MHz spectrum for a new entrant. Telefónica Czech Republic said it has also filed a lawsuit with the Prague municipal court against that stipulation and two others, Reuters reported.
The Czech Telecommunication Office (CTO, or CTU in Czech) said that a total of five companies have signed up for the auction, which is expected to take place in November. Czech investment group PPF took placed in the first failed auction attempt, but has said it will not take part in the latest auction.
Elsewhere in Europe, LTE services are also now available in Monaco after Monaco Telecom, which is currently owned by Cable & Wireless Communications, announced the launch of the principality's first LTE services.
"The company's LTE network covers 98 per cent of the principality," the company said in a statement. "The installation, undertaken by Huawei, was part of a broader upgrade of the operator's mobile infrastructure which has resulted in significant improvements for all mobile data users."
And as previously reported, on Oct. 1 Bouygues Telecom launched its LTE services with 63 per cent population coverage using the 1800 MHz spectrum.
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