Vodafone Germany has chosen Swedish vendor Ericsson and Huawei Technologies of China as its Long Term Evolution (LTE) upgrade partners. The German unit of UK-based Vodafone Group said it plans to upgrade all of its base stations to LTE, as well as extend network reach. This, the company said, would ensure broadband coverage is expanded to rural areas of the country – a condition of its 800MHz licence secured in Germany’s May 2010 digital dividend spectrum auction. Vodafone walked away with two paired blocks of 5MHz spectrum in the 800MHz band after bidding EUR1.21 billion (USD1.55 billion). According to the operator, LTE rollout will begin in September 2010, with a plan to upgrade around 1,500 base stations during 2011. In so-called ‘white spots’ (areas currently uncovered by a broadband network), the company has said that the ‘4G’ technology will be able to provide broadband speeds of up to 3Mbps, though faster download speeds will be available in towns and cities.