Having conducted LTE tests in its Madrid demo centre, Telefónica has now hooked the technology into a 2G/3G operational network for the first time to prove its maturity. The company justified this move by wanting to understand what the technical requirements might be for the commercial deployment of LTE.
According to engineers involved with the exercise, the initial tests included VoIP calls and video calls using a mini LTE installation supplied by Ericsson, with the company claiming it had recorded speeds for videoconferencing and data downloads of more than 140Mbps.
While it would appear these tests were successful, Telefónica has confirmed that, by this summer, it will start rolling out its HSPA + technology offering peak download speeds of 21Mbps. It also revealed its 3G network now covers approximately 90 per cent of the Spanish population, while its HSDPA and HSUPA coverage will expand to 85 per cent and 50 per cent respectively by the end of the year.
However, a new study into LTE by Juniper Research did raise a question for operators. According to Juniper, while LTE should offer broadband speeds of up to 100Mbps or more--at least five times faster than the best mobile broadband now, and around 20 times faster than most people experience via fixed DSL--"the challenge for mobile operators is to make profits yet keep prices attractive enough for subscribers to sign up. It's all about the business case."
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