Vodafone Portugal has released the first price plans relating to its imminent Long Term Evolution (LTE) launch, with the operator planning to unveil the 4G service in 13 cities as soon as telecoms watchdog ANACOM issues it with the necessary approvals. The LTE network – which is initially only available using the new ‘Vodafone Connect Pen K5005’ USB dongle (priced at EUR159.99 [USD210.4]) – will go live in Lisbon, Porto, Aveiro, Braga, Castelo Branco, Coimbra, Faro, Guarda, Leira, Santarem, Setubal, Funchal and Ponta Delgada. Two tariffs will be available at launch: ‘Best Net 4G 50’, which offers download speeds of up to 50Mbps for EUR49.99 and ‘Best Net 4G 100’ (maximum 100Mbps, EUR59.99). Vodafone intends to utilise the 2.6GHz spectrum it acquired in December 2011’s long-awaited spectrum auction to support its shift to 4G. Once operational, the Portuguese network will represent Vodafone’s second active LTE service, after Germany, which debuted its own 4G network in September 2010, using the 800MHz band.
In other news, Vodafone Portugal CEO Antonio Coimbra has admitted to Negocios Online that a merger between his company and local cableco Zon Multimedia would ‘theoretically’ lead to the creation of ‘an operator with the skills and capacities to compete with Portugal Telecom (PT)’. However, Coimbra declined to comment on this week’s decision by Zon shareholders to lift a 10% block on voting stakes within the company – which has prompted widespread speculation of major shareholder changes at the telco. Whilst Coimbra commented that he did not want to ‘speculate ¬on possible consolidation scenarios’, he stressed that his company is ‘attentive to all movements’ within the telecoms sector.