Swisscom, Switzerland’s largest telco by subscribers, today launched the nation’s first 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network. The network, which uses frequencies in the 800MHz, 1800MHz and 2600MHz ranges, is currently available in 26 locations and is expected to be extended to cover 70% of the population by the end of next year. Swisscom’s LTE network is capable of theoretical maximum downlink speeds of up to 150Mbps, upgradable to 300Mbps and the operator has slated CHF1.5 billion to invest in the development of its mobile networks until 2016.
Swisscom does not plan to introduce LTE-specific tariffs, rather any customer with a mobile internet package and a 4G-enabled smartphone will automatically have access to the higher speeds where they are available. To that end, the telco is expanding its range of 4G-compatible devices: the HTC One XL will be available from today, whilst the Samsung Galaxy SIII 4G, Samsung Galaxy Note 2 4G, and Nokia Lumia 920 will go on sale in early December.
As noted by TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Swisscom became the first player to trial LTE technology in Switzerland, launching a trial service in Grechen in October 2010. Further pilot network rollouts, to seven tourist destinations, were begun in November 2011, starting with Davos before moving on to deployments in Grindelwald, Gstaad, Leukerbad, Montana, Saas Fee and St. Moritz/Celerina.