Orange France prepares for LTE launch in 2013

Having been given the 'OK' by the French telecoms regulator Arcep to start trials of "ultra high-speed mobile" networks, the CEO of FT Orange, Stephane Richard, said that the company was planning to offer LTE from early 2013.

The CEO said that it would take the company 18 to 24 months to build an appropriate LTE network to enable it to offer high-speed services in large cities across France.

Having already registered his concern over the likely growth of mobile data traffic across the company's French network--a 10x increase within two years--the CEO has laid down a marker with the government by stating that Orange would bid for a large share of the available LTE spectrum.

Arcep has said that the initial allocation of LTE licences for the 2.6GHz band was focused on the more common FDD variant of LTE, and has now announced that the deadline for requests to conduct trials using the unpaired TDD variant of LTE had been extended by several months.

With the announcement of these LTE deployment timescales, Richard also gave a clear indication that Orange was looking at revamping its data tariffs based on 'yield management'. This has been taken to mean that the company would charge depending on network utilisation and whether usage occurred during peak and off-peak times.

Separately, France Telecom board has yet to decide if it will buy a minority stake in Iraqi operator Korek.

For more:
- see this Telecompaper article (sub req)

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