TeliaSonera: Slow uptake of LTE blamed on no handsets

Having been the first operator to launch LTE, TeliaSonera is thought to have only attracted around 1,000 customers to sign up for the service. Its LTE network is said to provide coverage to almost 400,000 residents in Stockholm and Oslo.

According to the company, the lack of an LTE handset has been a major factor behind low uptake, with only dongles being available for high speed data access.

Commenting on the lack of suitable devices, Lars Klasson, TeliaSonera's VP of mobility services, was reported to have said that the major handset vendors are waiting for larger markets like the U.S. or Japan to launch LTE networks before making compatible phones. "As for the LTE phones, we say 'Forget it for now.'"

Analysts believe that to deploy an LTE network costs around €2 billion per 50 million inhabitants with the added cost of the necessary licence. TeliaSonera was forced to pay €50 million for its Swedish LTE licence.

Separately, Tommy Ljunggren, VP of system development at the business area mobility of TeliaSonera, has stated that LTE trials were largely unnecessary. Speaking at the LTE World Summit conference, Ljunggren said: "If I have one message for the operator community, it is don't bother with LTE trials, just deploy it."

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Related stories:
TeliaSonera launches first commercial LTE network
TeliaSonera survey points to LTE enthusiam among end users
Telia Sonera releases LTE user survey
LTE 'priced to go' as TeliaSonera goes live

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