Finland first with 900 MHz W-CDMA launch

3G operators in Western Europe will watch with keen interest the deployment of the first 900 MHz W-CDMA network by the Finnish operator, Elisa, given that this frequency band is expected to significantly improve 3G network coverage--and, in particular, indoor penetration. 

Almost everywhere in Western Europe, the 900 MHz spectrum is strictly tied to the use of GSM services, although as these GSM licenses come up for renewal, it is anticipated that regulators will permit the deployment of different technologies in the GSM spectrum. 

But there has been some resistance regarding in-band migration to W-CDMA at 900 MHz, mostly from W-CDMA-only operators which do not have licenses for spectrum in this band, as well as from GSM players who operate only in the 1800 MHz band.  

However, as with all new network technologies, 3G handsets supporting the 900 MHz band are likely to be in short supply given the low volumes expected from this small-scale deployment.  

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