Swisscom, Switzerland’s largest telco by subscribers, has announced that it has begun testing Long Term Evolution Advanced (LTE-A) services with potential downlink speeds of up to 450Mbps. The cellco launched LTE-A with theoretical peak download speeds of 300Mbps in June 2014 and expects the service to be available in the cities of Berne, Biel, Lausanne, Zurich, Geneva, Lucerne, Lugano and Basel by the end of the year, with 30% of the population to have access to the technology twelve months later. Swisscom demonstrated the upgraded LTE-A service at a media event in Ittigen, aggregating three frequency bands to achieve the higher transfer rate. According to the provider, the bundling of the frequencies and the higher bandwidth will allow more customers to use radio cell simultaneously and at a constant high speed. Swisscom expects the higher speeds to be available to the public by end-2015.
In a related development, the cellco also expects to launch voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) services by mid-2015. Currently, the operator uses Circuit Switched FallBack (CSFB) technology to automatically switch customers from the 4G LTE network to its 2G/3G platforms to make and receive calls.