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3 claims first FDD/TDD LTE network in the world

16 Dec 2011

Hutchison Whampoa’s Swedish mobile subsidiary Hi3G Access Sweden (3, or Tre) has launched 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) services in partnership with Chinese technology provider ZTE, over a network which the companies claim is the world’s first commercial implementation of LTE FDD/TDD dual-mode technology. 3’s 4G mobile broadband service is initially available in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo, but will be expanded across the rest of Sweden in due course. 3 is playing catch-up in the Swedish 4G market, where TeliaSonera launched commercial LTE in December 2009 with Tele2 and Telenor’s rival offerings hitting the streets in November 2010.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database writes that Hi3G Access Sweden won a 15-year service-neutral wireless broadband licence in May 2008 giving it 2×10MHz frequency division duplex (FDD) spectrum in the 2600MHz band. In December 2010 Hi3G agreed to purchase Intel’s Swedish time division duplex (TDD) 2600MHz spectrum (500MHz block) to augment its FDD allocation. Then, as reported by CommsUpdate, at the end of that year Hong Kong-based parent Hutchison made an agreement with ZTE and fellow Chinese vendor Huawei for the rollout of LTE mobile broadband infrastructure across Sweden and Denmark; the initial rollout plan based on TDD/FDD 2600MHz spectrum covered 500 base stations in Sweden, with expansion to 1,000 base stations across the country planned, and the contract was finalised in March 2011. Also that month 3 won a Swedish 800MHz (‘digital dividend’) licence (2×10MHz: 791MHz-801MHz, 832MHz-842MHz) which it will use to augment its 4G network build-out. In another auction in October 2011 it failed to win additional spectrum earmarked for 4G usage in the 1800MHz band, losing out to Telia, Tele2 and Telenor.

Sweden, Tre Sweden (Hi3G Access), ZTE

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