French-US vendor Alcatel-Lucent has announced that it has partnered with Spain’s largest cellco by subscribers, Telefonica Moviles Espana (Movistar), to launch pilot Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks in the cities of Madrid and Barcelona. The vendor claims that the pre-commercial infrastructure will allow Movistar to test those applications and services that will be able to take advantage of the higher speeds offered by LTE, while also allowing the cellco an ‘opportunity to explore the overall performance and cost advantages of the technology’. Under the terms of the deal between Movistar and Alca-Lu, the latter has said that it will provide a complete, end-to-end LTE soluition, including LTE base stations (eNodeBs), all-IP wireless Evolved Packet Core (EPC), and subscriber data management capabilities based on its Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) portfolio. Further, the vendor noted that it will also build, operate and maintain the network on Movistar’s behalf, which it claims will allow the cellco to ‘focus on developing the best service for their customers.’
Commenting on the development, Stephen Carter, President, Europe, Middle East and Africa for Alcatel-Lucent, said: ‘This project represents an important step forward in Telefonica’s plans to help lead the transition to 4G in Europe, and offer an unmatched mobile broadband experience to the people of Spain. It also opens a new chapter in our relationship with Telefonica, as we join them as a partner on their journey to the next generation of wireless communications.’
In separate but related news, Movistar rival Vodafone Spain has also revealed details of a pre-commercial LTE launch in the cities of Madrid, Barcelona and Malaga. According to ADSLZone.net, the cellco has chosen 30 corporate clients to trial LTE services using the Huawei USB Stick K5005 as a way of testing the network ahead of any commercial introduction of 4G services. The new LTE infrastructure will reportedly be focused in particular in the districts of Azca and Salamanca in Madrid, trade fair ground Fira de Barcelona in the Catalonian capital, and the Malaga Business Park.