Vodafone reveals 31 October LTE launch date; Samsung, Alca-Lu receive trial licences

23 Oct 2012

Vodafone Romania, the country’s second largest mobile operator by subscribers, has revealed that it intends to unveil its new 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network on a trial basis on 31 October, with a full commercial launch anticipated in early-2013. Prior to the full launch, Vodafone customers will be encouraged to test out the network, which supports downlink transmission speeds of up to 75Mbps. CEO Inaki Berroeta commented: ‘Until the commercial launch of LTE services, which will take place early next year, Vodafone customers will be able to test 4G services at speeds up to 75Mbps in several cities. From 2013, Vodafone Romania will offer 4G services with speeds of up to 100Mbps’. The network will operate using frequencies in the 1800MHz spectrum band, and has been deployed by Chinese equipment vendor Huawei Technologies. The launch will represent Vodafone’s third LTE launch in Europe, following deployments in Germany and Portugal. Not to be outdone, business daily Ziarul Financiar (ZF) reports that market leader Orange Romania has scheduled a press conference for 3pm this afternoon, prompting suggestions that it is set to steal Vodafone’s thunder.

In other news, ZF reports that as series of domestic mobile operators and international vendors have been granted permission by the National Authority for Management and Regulation in Communications (ANCOM) to perform LTE trials in Romania. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, since October 2010 a number of major vendors have been permitted to stage independent 4G tests in the country, including: Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN), Huawei and ZTE, with Cosmote and Orange also obtaining trial permits. All licences covered frequencies in the 2600MHz band, although the June 2012 permits issued to Cosmote and ZTE respectively also included 800MHz spectrum. The latest batch of trial concessions will see Samsung granted an experimental licence in the 800MHz band, Cosmote, Orange and Vodafone utilise the 1800MHz band, and Samsung and Alca-Lu trial the 2600MHz band.