T-Mobile NL to roll out HSPA+, but coy on LTE

17 Feb 2011

Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile Netherlands unit plans to deploy HSPA+ technology offering peak connections of 21Mbps in the country this year, to meet growing demand for data services from Dutch users, the German parent’s CTO Olivier Baujard told Telecompaper in an interview at the Mobile World Congress. T-Mobile’s initial focus is on expanding both coverage and capacity, as well as improving the network’s overall robustness. Mr Baujard says that the Netherlands currently has the widest penetration of smartphones and highest use of data services anywhere in Europe. In order to cater for strong demand which has put its network under intense pressure, the cellco upped its CAPEX by one-fifth in 2010 and created a so-called ’smartphone challenge’ list of tips based on its experiences for handset makers, suppliers and other industry players to meet the new market conditions.

The Dutch company is however, less clear about on its long term strategy for 4G LTE technology. Baujard says that working with the old Orange spectrum it owns and its own blocks, it could save between 10% and 15% on its spectrum needs if its frequencies were ‘better aligned’. T-Mobile forecasts that while maybe two national LTE networks will most likely be built in the country, the deployment of four or five exclusive systems is ‘unlikely’. Its German parent is understood to favour a more holistic approach to 4G – that is, not just LTE but also HSPA+ and Wi-Fi. In terms of Wi-Fi, T-Mobile favours two possible options: firstly, buddying up with more partners to roll out more hotspots quickly; or secondly, using fixed broadband routers to create more public hotspots.

Netherlands, T-Mobile Netherlands