Vivendi-owned SFR said it has completed what the operator claims to be the first trials of LTE Advanced technology in France, achieving download speeds of up to 174 Mbps thanks to carrier aggregation of spectrum in the 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz bands.
The trial took place in SFR's Efixo Research and Development centre in Marseille. The operator said the extra capacity and speed of LTE Advanced technology would enable "4G" services to be accessed by the largest number of people. It added that devices supporting these services should arrive on the market in the second half of 2014.
SFR launched its first LTE services at the end of 2012 and is targeting population coverage of 40 per cent by the end of 2013. At the same time as its investment in high-speed mobile technology, the operator is investing in fibre optic broadband services across France. It launched a 1 Gbps fibre service in October.
Rival operators in France are following similar strategies with high-speed mobile and fixed broadband services, as well as triple- and quad-play offers that bundle together fixed voice and broadband, TV and mobile plans into one package. Free Mobile is currently the only operator without LTE after both Orange and Bouygues Telecom launched their offerings this year.
Orange's director of technical strategy, Yves Bellego, told FierceWireless:Europe that LTE Advanced is a "no-brainer" for the operator: "The benefits are clear," he said. "It is on the roadmap."
- see this SFR release (translated via Google Translate)
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