Bulgarian wireless broadband operator Max Telecom, which has adopted the Max moniker, has launched the first commercial 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in country. According to a press release, the mobile broadband service is currently available in Sofia, Ruse, Stara Zagora, Sliven and Bansko. Under a partnership deal with Apple, customers who purchase Apple’s iPad from 20 May to 30 June 2014 will receive a free 4G LTE data SIM card with validity up to 30 September 2014; selected stores will also offer 12% discount on the iPad Air Cellular 16GB tablet. Further, users who already own a LTE-enabled tablet will receive unlimited 4G access until end-September if they purchase the operator’s ‘4G 4U’ starter pack, currently priced at BGN10 (USD7.01).
Max CEO Peter Covell said: ‘We start with very attractive offers for users of Apple and other 4G compatible tablets, because we would like them to be the first to test our new services and demonstrate how well the high-end technologies go together. We believe that 4G LTE mobile internet service is the best fit for a high-end tablet. Shortly, on the market there will be more offers from us, for more devices and with more products.’
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Max walked away from the country’s frequency auction in December 2011 with a 2×8MHz block in the 1800MHz spectrum band and subsequently indicated that the company would begin rolling out a pilot LTE mobile broadband network in the second half of 2012 with Nokia Solutions & Networks (NSN) contracted in July 2013 to build the LTE network, overlaying its existing WiMAX system. In October 2013 Max conducted the first successful internet data transfer over its LTE network. During the trials, the company achieved download speed of 67Mbps at high screen resolution of 4K standard by buffering five-minute HD video clips in just a few seconds.