Slovak Telekom (ST) has launched a HSPA+ upgrade on the 3G network of its cellular unit T-Mobile Slovensko, raising maximum theoretical download speeds to 21.8Mbps, the highest in the country. The initial HSPA+ deployment covers Bratislava, Piestany and Komarno and T-Mobile will gradually increase coverage to other areas, beginning next month with cities in the west of the country. ST plans to continue supporting and operating its W-CDMA/HSPA 3G/3.5G network – covering 42% of the population – in parallel with its integrated Flash-OFDM 450MHz mobile broadband network which has around 75% population coverage, whilst expanding 3G coverage to around 80% over the next two years. Flash-OFDM will be used to cover additional rural and remote areas, with HSPA+ coverage initially concentrated on densely populated towns and cities. Flash-OFDM data speed upgrades are also planned; T-Mobile customers are currently offered a maximum downstream speed of 5.3Mbps and a peak upstream rate of 1.8Mbps when accessing the 450MHz network.
ST has also revealed that T-Mobile’s HSPA+ speeds will be upgraded to 42Mbps download (requiring Dual Carrier [DC] implementation] and 5.76Mbps upload; it also plans to test an 84Mbps HSPA+ network configuration.
Slovakia’s government is currently formulating plans to offload its 49% stake in Deutsche Telekom-controlled ST within the next 18 months via either a direct sale (with the German parent holding first refusal rights) or an IPO. The Slovak telco completed a merger of its T-Com fixed line and T-Mobile cellular units in July 2010.