Latvia's BITE extends LTE-A coverage, is hungry for more

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BITE has almost doubled its number of LTE-Advanced compatible base stations across Latvia after mobile data users increased by 50 percent during the past year.

The Latvian operator, which spent more than €1 million on the upgrade and partnered with Huawei, described the project as one of the country's most substantial network development projects.

In total, 44 cities across the country have seen their mobile data quality improve following the project's completion including the capital Riga, Daugavpils, and Liepāja.

At the time of publication, 170 base stations across 67 locations are LTE-Advanced compatible, offering speeds of between 40-70MBps with compatible handsets to 66 percent of Latvians.

BITE boasts 560,000 customers, over a quarter of the country's total population of 1.96 million.

Aleksandrs Beļajevs, Network Engineer at BITE, said: “With the development of technology and with mobile services becoming more accessible, users demand more and more. So, even if relatively recently mobile data was a very exclusive service, it has now become a "commodity" of everyday necessity, because it provides a quick exchange of information at basically any time and place.

"This is why we are continuously working on expanding the internet coverage and increasing the capacity, and not only in Riga, but also in other regions whose inhabitants use data very actively.

"For example, in Latgale alone, total mobile data usage in the BITE network has increased by 30 percent this year, while consumption per user has increased by 91 percent.”

Beļajevs said BITE is planning to extend its LTE-Advanced coverage to other parts of Latvia in 2018.

Last week, Telekom Slovenije revealed it had extended its LTE-Advanced coverage to more than 35 percent of the country's population.