HSPA+ is OK for now, LTE can wait: Telekom Austria CFO

As operators ready themselves for the migration to LTE, the CFO of Telekom Austria has refused to be dragged along with the crowd stating that its HSPA+ network is still sufficient.

While accepting that the company was conducting LTE tests, Telekom Austria CFO, Hans Tschuden, said that it would be several years before it deployed a next-generation mobile network.

"HSPA+ is very efficient from a cost perspective because it's a software upgrade. LTE requires Capex and you have to make the necessary bandwidth available," he said.

However, while Tschuden said that the company would remain focused on its HSPA+ activities, he confirmed LTE would form part of Telekom Austria's future strategy. The CFO noted that if other operators started offering LTE-based services, then it would need to respond or risk looking inferior.

Tschuden also raised questions of whether the auction of Austria's 2.6GHz spectrum--which is due to start in 2011 and carry on into early 2012--was the best route forward. He pointed towards the discrepancies between the sums raised during 2.6GHz auctions held in Sweden and the Netherlands--€230 million and €2.6 million respectively.

"[Spectrum auctions] benefit the finance minister when demand outstrips supply. The conditions that are attached to the [mobile] licence itself are the key," said Tschuden.

With the company undergoing a radical reorganisation that will see its fixed and mobile divisions merged into a single unit (to be rebranded A1 Telekom Austria), the financial cost of moving to LTE would appear to be a strong influence on the company. Telekom Austria expects the planned reorganisation to cost between €30 million and €40 million this year.

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