LTE competition heats up as Swedish MNO opens first site

In Stockholm, Sweden today, mobile network operator TeliaSonera and wireless infrastructure leader Ericsson unveiled the first site in Sweden's forthcoming 4G LTE network, expected to go live in 2010 with deployments in Stockholm and Oslo.

The process has picked up considerable steam recently. It was only four months ago that TeliaSonera announced its first LTE contracts, which included Ericsson and Chinese telecommunications hardware provider Huawei. Just a month later in the US, Verizon named its LTE partners, which also included Ericsson, as well as Alcatel-Lucent, Starent Networks, and Nokia-Siemens.

A comparable "first site" LTE launch from Verizon has long been expected to occur before 2009 is out. If TeliaSonera and Verizon work on similar schedules, Verizon's inaugural LTE site could be launched in early summer.

Of course, LTE competition in Sweden is a bit hotter than it is in the United States. At the LTE World Summit last week, mobile operators Telenor and Tele2 announced their partnership in a joint company called Net4 Mobility which will roll out its own 2.6 GHz LTE network and share the two companies' 900 MHz GSM spectrum. The joint venture will compete with TeliaSonera to be the first to deploy a nationwide LTE network. Lars-Åke Norling, Telenor's CEO said, "It's going to be a fight between us."

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