T-Mobile Netherlands said it is investing "hundreds of millions of euros" in the further development of its network, and is spending some of the money on a multi-year deal with Chinese equipment vendor Huawei.
The operator said that starting this month it will renew and upgrade all 5,000 of its antenna stations in the Netherlands, to ensure that the network is equipped with the latest radio technology and enable T-Mobile users to benefit from high-speed mobile data services.
Huawei will be upgrading the operator's base transceiver stations (BTS) with an integrated SingleRAN (Radio Access Network) capable of supporting LTE technology, while simultaneously catering for existing GSM/UMTS technologies.
T-Mobile added that the conversion of all base stations and masts is a large-scale operation that has already been started in Amsterdam, with work to follow in Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht, followed by the rest of the Netherlands.
The operator said LTE services will be launched to consumers in the Amsterdam metropolitan area later this autumn, with services set to be extended to the rest of the population in 2014. It added that it will provide all users with a "suitable device to access the 4G network as no additional cost."
KPN already provides LTE services to consumers in parts of the Netherlands via two tariffs, one with 2.5 GB and one with 5 GB of data. Vodafone Netherlands is also planning to launch LTE services this year.
As Dutch and Spanish operators gear up for LTE in 2013, the latest figures from Wireless Intelligence show that LTE connections globally have now reached 100 million, and are expected to reach more than 900 million globally by the end of 2017 and 1 billion in the first half of 2018.
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