The domestic arm of Spanish telecoms group Telefonica is to offer commercial Long Term Evolution (LTE) services in the Catalonian capital Barcelona from next year, the Catalan News Agency reports. The cellco will offer the services via its Movistar unit, with theoretical downlink speeds of up to 100Mbps available via the deployment of the technology. According to the report, 4G services are already accessible in a number of specific locations in the city, including El Prat airport, but can only accessed via USB modems.
Telefonica’s director for Catalonia, Kim Faura, noted that with Barcelona having been named as the Mobile World Capital by the GSMA in July 2011, and as result with it to host the Mobile World Congress until 2018, the company has decided to make it a ‘priority’ to deploy LTE technology in the city. Last month, as reported by CommsUpdate, French-US vendor Alcatel-Lucent announced it was partnering with Movistar to launch pilot LTE networks in the cities of Madrid and Barcelona. The vendor at that date claimed that the pre-commercial infrastructure would 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 said that it would 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.’