Estonian cellco Eesti Mobiiltelefon (EMT), a subsidiary of Sweden’s TeliaSonera, has announced that it has extended its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network to a number of new locations, as well as having enhanced coverage in the capital Tallinn. The mobile operator has revealed that it is now offering commercial 4G services in Polva, Rapla, Poltsamaa and Elva, as well as Metsakastis, Vaana-Joesuu and Haabneeme in Harju county. Further, as well as extending the coverage area in Tallinn, EMT said that the cities of Tartu and Kohtla-Jarve have also seen network expansions. The cellco meanwhile noted that it expects to have extended its LTE network nationwide by the end of 2016.
As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, having launched what it claimed was Eastern Europe’s first Long Term Evolution (LTE) test network in February 2010, it was not until August that year that the Estonian Technical Surveillance Authority (ETSA) launched an auction for six frequency blocks in the 2500MHz-2690MHz band with a tender deadline set at 8 December 2010. Subsequently it was confirmed that EMT had bagged not only 2×20MHz of frequency-division duplex (FDD) spectrum but that it had also laid claim to two 20MHz blocks of time-division duplex (TDD) spectrum. As part of its bid, EMT pledged to build 1,950 support stations within six years of the licence’s issue, and confirmed that it would be pursuing an aggressive rollout plan during 2011, with equipment supplied by Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) and Ericsson, while its 4G modems are supplied by Samsung. Within days of the auction finishing, EMT proceeded to launch commercial LTE services in the city centres of Tallinn, Tartu, Kohtla-Jarve, and at IT College of Tallinn University of Technology, consolidating its status as the market pioneer in the process.