Hong Kong's CSL today joined the exclusive LTE club with the launch of Asia's first commercial LTE service.
The Telstra-owned operator unveiled a network covering 50% of the city's seven million population, with download speeds up to four times faster than HSPA+.
But a lack of dongles means it is only available for some corporate customers, CMO Mark Liversidge told Telecoms Europe.net. It has only a small number of dongles from ZTE and Samsung, and won't offer service to consumers until 1Q11, he said.
The launch follows three years of network planning and restructure by the operator. It replaced its long-term vendor Nokia Siemens with ZTE and converted its 3G/HSPA network into the world's first all-IP 3.5G network.
CSL says the upgraded network is the world's first dual cell (DC) LTE/HSPA+ network – an official 3GPP standard.
Since launch of the all-IP network in March 2009, mobile data traffic has increased 65 times, but operating cost has remained flat, the company says.
CEO Joseph O'Konek said that was because of the IP configuration as well as the ability to shift between the 900MHz, 1800MHz, and 2600MHz bands using software-defined radio.
The network is also a global showcase for ZTE as its first commercial LTE network.