The German unit of Spanish telecoms group Telefonica plans to launch commercial Long Term Evolution (LTE) services in metropolitan areas like Berlin, Hamburg and the Ruhr region, the company’s CEO Rene Schuster told German magazine Focus. The 4G service will be available in urban areas by the end of next year, following investment of hundreds of millions of euros. Under a condition of its spectrum licence, Telefonica Germany, which provides services under the brands O2 and Alice, initially had to concentrate on the rollout of LTE in rural areas before it could begin network rollout in urban areas. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database states that the company paid a total of EUR1.38 billion (USD1.83 billion) for eleven blocks of spectrum across the 800MHz, 1800MHz, 2GHz and 2.6GHz bands in the government’s April-May 2010 auction. In June 2011 it began marketing its rural LTE products under the name ‘O2 LTE fur Zuhause’ with a view to commercially launching the 4G network in a number of unserved areas, including Oberreichenbach in the Black Forest, Abtsteinach/Bergstraße and Zscherben in Saxony-Anhalt, the following month. The rural LTE service utilises 800MHz frequencies and supports download speeds of up to 7.2Mbps.