Tele2 unveils LTE rollout targets for Netherlands and Baltic States

Tele2 set out its LTE and LTE Advanced (LTE-A) rollout targets for the Netherlands and the Baltic States, as the Sweden-based group also unveiled a multi-year investment programme expected to cost around SEK1 billion (€107 million/$132 million) and yield annual savings of SEK1 billion from 2018.

In terms of its future LTE or 4G plans, Tele2 said it will launch an LTE-A network in the Netherlands in March 2015 with nationwide coverage planned by the end of 2016. The company also claims to be the "first provider in the world in the process of launching a 4G only network," although there are already LTE-only network operators in Africa.

Tele2, which currently functions as a mobile virtual network operator in the Netherlands, said it estimates the costs of operating as an MNO as opposed to an MVNO "to be as much as 85 per cent lower". This is because Tele2 does not operate legacy 2G and 3G network in the Dutch market, has a site-sharing agreement with T-Mobile Netherlands, and made what it described as a "relatively small investment" in spectrum licences.

"Thanks to our extremely low setup and operating costs, we believe Tele2 is in the best possible position to challenge the incumbent Dutch operators, in a market where 4G is still considered by consumers to be an expensive premium service and price levels for mobile data remain amongst the highest in Europe," said Jeff Dodds, CEO of Tele2 Netherlands.

Meanwhile Tele2 also said it plans to provide 90 per cent of the population with 4G/LTE network coverage in the Baltic States--Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia--by the end of 2015 after a network investment of €50 million ($62 million) in the region.

"The Baltic region together with Sweden, are our next areas of growth for 4G/LTE services. The demand for mobile data in the Baltic region is tremendous and Tele2's revenue from data services demonstrates rapid growth," said Niklas Sonkin, executive vice president for Central Europe and Eurasia at Tele2.

Furthermore, the company plans to offer LTE roaming services to customers in Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and has signed its first external LTE roaming agreement with FarEasTone Telecommunications in Taiwan.

As it revealed its LTE ambitions, Tele2 also announced a programme that will see the company invest a total of SEK1 billion over three years in order to realise productivity savings of around SEK1 billion from 2018 onwards.

The so-called "Challenger Program" is part of a strategic initiative to improve productivity and forms one of four strategic pillars to be adopted by the company in 2015. The other three strategic initiatives include working as a "Value Champion", making focused technology choices and leveraging "Winning people and culture", the company added.

"Tele2 was sprung out of an idea to challenge the establishment--the status quo. We are entrepreneurs and have proven time and time again that we will never become just another telecom operator. We embrace change and will hit change before it hits us," said Mats Granryd, president and CEO of Tele2 AB.

For more:
- see this Tele2 release on 4G in the Netherlands
- see this Tele2 release on 4G in the Baltic States
- see this Tele2 release on 4G roaming
- see this Tele2 release on its investment programme

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