Sweden to get Europe’s fastest mobile network

Sweden to get Europe’s fastest mobile network
Sweden is set to receive the fastest mobile network in Europe following upgrades to be carried out by a group of Swedish companies.

Telecoms equipment manufacturer Ericsson, as well as operators 3 and Tele2, plan to bring Sweden’s mobile network up to 21 Mbits/second, the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper reports.

Tele2 said it plans to launch the upgraded network in the first quarter of 2009, while 3 projects its commercial launch will take place in April of next year, by which time equipment capable of the enhanced speeds should also be available.

“Today’s network can manage speeds of up to 14.4 Mbits/second, but so far mobile phone manufacturers haven’t produced dongles that can reach those speeds,” 3 spokesperson Erik Hörnfeldt told DN, referring to the piece of hardware users plug into computers in order to surf the internet via the mobile phone network.

“Now we’re working on reaching 21 Mbits/sec and by then there will also be dongles for that speed,” he added.

Telia customers will also benefit from the upgrade since it shares a network with Tele2.

Customers of 3 located in Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö will be the first to benefit from the faster network because 3 operates its own network in those cities.

In the rest of Sweden, however, 3’s network is supplied by Nokia Siemens Networks, which means that customers in the rest of Sweden won’t at first be able to benefit from the upgrade.

According to Mikael Bäckström, Ericsson’s head of marketing in the Nordic and Baltic region, other operators in the region are also clamouring to add speed to their networks.

“This has been driven by the needs of the consumer. By upgrading, it’s possible to use the network even more effectively and easily download information,” he told DN, adding that Ericsson was in discussions with several operators about upgrades, despite the financial crisis.

Bäckström added that discussions are currently underway regarding the standardization of HSPA wireless communications technology, which can reach speeds as high as 150 Mbits/second.

He also projected that base stations equipped to handle fourth generation (4G) technology known as LTE, which can deliver speeds between 200 Mbits/second, would be delivered by by late 2009 or early 2010.