To determine its 4G mobile network strategy
Telefonica has reached an agreement with six LTE technology providers to launch test their respective LTE technologies in six different countries with the view to roll out fourth generation networks in the different regions where the company operates.
The suppliers Telefonica has chosen so far -Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Huawei, NEC, Nokia Siemens Network and ZTE- will start rolling out the equipment necessary for testing the technology during the coming months, to get an advance look at its behaviour in the field. The project, opened to other suppliers, will take place over six months and will consist of field tests and the installation of e-node Bs.
The company said that this plan will help it to determine its fourth generation mobile network strategy, defining its needs and predicting the execution times for roll out and marketing. LTE has been developed using current 3G technologies, has been normalised by global standardisation bodies (3GPP) and promises to become widely accepted mobile telephony standard at international level.
Telefonica claims that it will be able to offer peak speeds of up to 340 Mbps in ideal conditions and increase its networks’ capacity to offer broadband mobile services. LTE allows flexible spectrum management, increased efficiency through greater operating automation and the massive adoption of the most technologies, as the case of MIMO.
With the adoption of this technology, Telefonica intends to complement its mobile broadband offer, increasing the features of services requiring wider band. The implementation of LTE will be subject to the availability of equipment to customers (datacards and later on, telephones) and the spectrum required to be able to provide services with this new technology.
The countries selected for testing are Spain, the UK, Germany and the Czech Republic in Europe, and Brazil and Argentina in Latin America. The most recent public demonstration of LTE technology by Telefonica took place in April in Madrid.
Reportedly, it consisted of the first VoIP call, in a videocall using an LTE mini-network installed by Ericsson, in a videoconference, and successive downloads of data and images at transfer speeds in excess of 140 Mbps, about 10 times faster than current 3G networks using HSPA technology.
Julio Linares, COO of Telefonica, said: “At Telefonica we are working with the conviction that we can only offer our clients the maximum levels of quality and innovation. To do this, we are defining our strategy and the rollout of LTE with the objective of driving mobile broadband and offering the best service from the moment that the equipment and terminals can support the new standards and are available for sale.”