Commits to nationwide HSPA+
Finnish network operator DNA has said that it will launch a commercial LTE network in 2011, following the signing of a three year network upgrade deal with Ericsson.
A DNA press statement said that Ericsson would take DNA's HSPA+ service nationwide, with LTE being rolled out in the "major cities". The deal will run over three years and includes GSM/HSPA/LTE radio access, Evolved Packet Core (EPC), IP-based mobile backhaul solutions as well as network management solutions. Services to DNA will cover support, network rollout, systems integration as well as consultancy and educational services
DNA's LTE launch will follow that of Telia Sonera, which launched in late 2010 in Turku, and Elisa, which is also planning a wider commercial launch following trials and pilots in Espoo in 2010. DNA has slightly less spectrum in the 2.6GHz band - 2x20MHz compared to Telia Sonera and Elisa's 2x25MHz.
Of as much interest as a city-limited LTE launch is the proposed nationwide HSPA+ rollout. Even though the 900 and 1800MHz bands have been liberalised and could be used for LTE, with Finland being a country with a particularly low population density HSPA+ could take operators a long way down the road to providing mobile broadband to rural areas, without the need for investment in the new radio technology or to wait for dual-mode LTE devices.
Tommy Olenius, Vice President, Technology, DNA, says: "By continuing our strategic partnership with Ericsson, DNA will be able to further improve the mobile broadband end-user experience and quality of service. The flexible new technology also allows remarkable growth in data-traffic volumes, caused by the great success of DNA's mobile broadband products. Modernizing the network with Ericsson's multi-standard radio solution also provides lower network energy consumption, therefore decreasing both the carbon footprint as well as the operational costs of DNA's mobile operations."
Robert Puskaric, Head Region Northern Europe Central Asia at Ericsson says: "With this agreement, we will continue to support DNA in developing their network in line with their mobile broadband strategies and ensure a seamless transfer to 4G. This includes effective handling of data traffic to avoid capacity bottlenecks in the mobile backhaul, providing the tools needed for a differentiated service offering and a smooth network rollout."