Telefónica's Movistar will offer commercial LTE services across parts of Barcelona starting next year. The operators said that the deployment will enable download speeds up to 100Mbps using equipment provided by Alcatel-Lucent.
The decision to offer LTE in the Catalonian capital Barcelona is seen as a "priority" by Movistar after the city won the bid to host the GSMA's Mobile World Congress (MWC) until 2018. The Catalan News Agency reported that the provision of LTE was one of the conditions imposed by the GSMA when selecting Barcelona as its choice for the next six years.
Movistar said that LTE is already available in a small number of areas around the city, such as the Le Prat airport, using USB modem dongles.
For the complete and in-depth coverage of Barcelona, which will not happen until 2014, Telefonica's director for Catalonia, Kim Faura, told the Catalan News Agency that the company would need to upgrade existing infrastructure and antennae, which will mean the Barcelona City Council would to change some rules regarding the positioning of cellular masts.
The deal Telefonica has struck with Alcatel-Lucent, which also involves supplying LTE equipment for a Madrid-based trial, calls for the vendor to supply a complete end-to-end solution that includes building, operating and maintaining the network. Additionally, Faura said that it was likely that the permanent offices of the MWC would be located in Telefónica's offices at the Plaça Catalunya, in Barcelona's downtown district.
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