Having already offered LTE service in Stockholm and Oslo since last December, TeliaSonera has announced that it plans to significantly increase the service by expanding coverage to 29 cities across Sweden and Norway.
While the number of LTE subscribers is still in the low thousands, the company expects volumes to increase as the network expands, backed by the launch this quarter of a new dongle from Samsung that would allow users to access 3G and LTE services from the same device for the first time. Subscribers have so far been limited to using LTE-only dongles within the Stockholm and Oslo coverage areas.
This commercial launch of LTE has attracted much attention, and, according to Håkan Dahlström, president of mobility services for TeliaSonera, "we could set up an office just to handle all the companies who want to come and take a look."
But Dahlström claims that the launch of LTE was motivated by domestic competitive pressure rather than a desire to grandstand on the world stage. "We wanted to show customers that a relationship with us is future-proof."
However, the exec believes that, unlike other operators that are offering unlimited data plans, the time has come for heavy users to pay more. "We're starting to create market acceptance for the logic of paying according to speed and volume."
The company presently charges €83 a month for 30Gb of data for LTE access, with additional fees above that threshold. This compares with €40 a month for 10Gb at the fastest 3G speed.
The company has also confirmed that it was planning its LTE operation in Finland--although a launch date is yet to be set--and was considering bidding for forthcoming licences in Denmark, Estonia and Lithuania.
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