Portugal Telecom (PT) has announced the launch of its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network, with CEO Zeinal Bava making the bold claim that the new 4G infrastructure will ‘improve the quality of life’ for Portuguese citizens. Although network coverage is currently limited to around 20% of the country (around 100 district capitals), Bava has promised 80% population coverage by end-April 2012, with 90% of Portuguese targeted by December this year. At launch PT is offering two distinct tariffs: ‘Hyper’ and ‘Mega’ offering maximum download speeds of 50Mbps and 100Mbps respectively; monthly price plans will reportedly start at EUR49.99 (USD65.57).
PT’s announcement represents the latest move in a flurry of Portuguese LTE activity. Last week Optimus, the mobile unit of Sonaecom, confirmed the readiness of its LTE network, with CEO Miguel Almeida admitting that, ‘strictly speaking’ Optimus is already using the technology, and that the cellco is in a position to launch commercial services ‘the same day’ as it is issued a licence by ANACOM. In January 2012 Vodafone Portugal released the first price plans relating to its imminent LTE launch, with the operator poised to unveil the 4G service in 13 cities as soon as ANACOM issues it with the necessary approvals. Yesterday TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate reported that national telecoms regulator is reportedly set to distribute licences for the provision of LTE services on 20 March; the spectrum auction took place in 4Q11, with all three incumbent cellcos participating in the process.