TeliaSonera moved its Long Term Evolution deployment schedule up and debuted the service in central city areas of Stockholm, Sweden and Oslo, Norway Monday, laying claim to being the first service provider in the world to offer the 4G service.
The company said Ericsson was providing the infrastructure in Stockholm, and Huawei in Oslo. The commercial introduction of the service is a prelude to its planned deployment in three Norwegian cities and 25 Swedish cities in 2010.
TeliaSonera is advertising speeds of 20 Mbps to 80 Mbps to be delivered via Samsung modems. The service is aimed at mobile laptop users.
"We will continue the rollout to offer our customers new communication services for the future," said Kenneth Karlberg, president and head of TeliaSonera's mobility services, in a statement. "The use of mobile broadband in the Nordic countries is exploding and customers need higher speeds and capacity."
The first LTE deployment gives TeliaSonera first-to-market bragging rights as several other global service providers prepare to roll out LTE service. Initial deployments are expected to be limited to laptops with modem cards although handsets with voice capability are expected to be introduced later.
Noting that it has 4G/LTE licenses in Finland as well as in Sweden and Norway, TeliaSonera said additional vendors for its LTE network are being evaluated with new selections expected to be announced in 2010.
Philip Solis, a director at ABI Research, said the service is priced at about $84 a month with a 30-Gbps cap. "TeliaSonera's launch is a significant milestone for LTE networks since it's the first," said Solis in a statement. "Today, commercially launched LTE networks now cover fewer than half a million people."
Verizon Wireless is expected to be the first major U.S. service provider to provide LTE service. The company has been testing trial networks in the Boston and Seattle areas and plans to launch the service commercially in several markets next year.