LTE 'priced to go' as TeliaSonera goes live

For the next six months consumers in Stockholm, Sweden, will have access to the world's first commercial LTE service at a rock-bottom price of 4 Swedish Kronor (US$0.56) per month. In Oslo, Norway, TeliaSonera has tweaked down the offer to 1 Norwegian Kronor (US$0.17) per month until next April 1.

However, this pricing reflects the very limited LTE coverage in both capital cities, and the need for users to also carry a 3G dongle to replace the LTE unit when out of coverage. The company, seemingly confident that users will become hooked on the high-speed service, plans to increase the tariff in Sweden to 599 Swedish Kronor (US$84) per month and make a charge for the LTE modem. In Norway the monthly fee jumps to 699 Norwegian Kronor (US$120) and again there will be a fee for the modem. The monthly data usage limit in both markets is 30GBytes.

According to a report carried by Unstrung, this introductory pricing has been set due to TeliaSonera's admission that the first customers will be helping the company to develop this pioneering service. Kenneth Karlberg, president and head of mobility services of TeliaSonera, said, "We'll have an open dialogue with early customers [about] how they experience our products and services."

The company would also appear to have ambitious deployment plans with Karlberg claiming that TeliaSonera planned to roll out the LTE network to 25 cities and vacation areas in Sweden as well as three big Norwegian cities throughout 2010. The company also declared its intention to go live with LTE in Finland next year, and said that an LTE spectrum auction in Denmark is anticipated to take place in the first quarter of next year.

However, this move comes at a high price with TeliaSonera admitting that the Capex for the initial LTE build-out in 2010 in Norway and Sweden would come to 500 million Swedish Kronor (US$70 million).

For the larger deployment, Karlberg said that a new vendor selection process was in place and that he expected to have the results from the evaluation in January next year. The winners will be based on "price and quality, as always," he said. The existing LTE networks in Oslo and Stockholm are supplied by Huawei and Ericsson.

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