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MTel testing LTE in January

10 Oct 2011

Hungary’s Magyar Telekom (MTel) will start testing 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) services from January 2012, rolling out a test network for its mobile arm T-Mobile Hungary. According to MTel chief executive Christopher Mattheisen, tests are already underway using 80 4G base stations and with the help of several hundred participants – including business and residential users. MTI Econews writes that the LTE network will use the 1800MHz band initially, but that the operator will use additional 900MHz spectrum – awaiting auction – to expand coverage to a greater depth on the population. The company’s partners in the 4G project are Cisco and Ericsson.

In a related development, Hungary’s telecoms regulator the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) said last Friday that it has it pushed back the deadline for registering to participate in a tender for 15-year LTE frequency licences in the 900MHz band from 20 October to 8 December 2011. The decision was in response to operator requests for more time to formulate their business plans and decide on whether or not to take part.

In August this year, the NMHH launched an international auction for companies wishing to secure the right to use 900MHz mobile frequencies. The NMHH is inviting bids through the two-round auction process to award three blocks of spectrum in the 900MHz band for the provision of GSM, UMTS, WiMAX or LTE services. The minimum reserve price for one block of 5MHz of EGSM duplex frequency (or ‘A bloc’), is HUF4 billion (USD20.99 million), while other blocks carry reserves of HUF700 million and HUF560 million. The winner of the A bloc will also get an option for three 1800MHz blocks and three 2100MHz blocks, it said. Further, a total of1MHz ‘B bloc’ frequencies are being offered at a starting price of HUF700 million apiece, and a total of 800MHz ‘C bloc’ frequencies are being offered at a starting price of HUF560 million. The regulator was originally looking for bidders to submit applications on or before 20 October and had expected to conclude the tender on 12 December. The final phase is now likely to take place in January 2012.

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