Tele2 Sweden reaches 99% 4G coverage?

19 Mar 2013

Tele2 Sweden has indicated that its multi-band 4G LTE mobile broadband network has reached a target of covering areas where 99% of the population live. In a footnote to the Tele2 group’s press release for a separate 4G launch (at its Lithuanian subsidiary) it claimed that ‘Tele2 Sweden has 4G connectivity available to 99% population’, which hints that the company has reached the Swedish coverage goal originally set for end-2012, although this has not yet been formally announced. Tele2 Sweden’s website currently claims that 4G expansion ‘is underway at a breakneck speed’, and now covers ‘99% of the online population.’ Its original LTE band, 2600MHz (launched in November 2010) covers cities with high data demand levels and covers around 60% of the population, while the 900MHz band has been utilised to spread LTE coverage to ‘most parts of the country, covering 97% of the population,’ as well as improving indoor coverage, although data speeds are considerably slower than on 2600MHz. The website currently notes: ‘In March 2013, the [900MHz coverage] figure may be as much as 99%.’ Demonstrating the speed of recent rollout, TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database records that Tele2 claimed in January 2013 to cover 87% of the population with LTE services, including 224 municipalities, up from October 2012’s figures of 76% and 200 municipalities. Tele2’s 3G services cover 99.8% of the population and considerably more territory, much of it sparsely populated.

Tele2 Sweden’s strategy has been to use 900MHz frequencies shared via its Net4Mobility infrastructure joint venture with Telenor Sweden to cover wider areas with 4G, and Tele2 says its ongoing parallel 800MHz rollout will improve 4G coverage further – with the 800MHz footprint expected to match the 900MHz 4G national imprint this year. The GlobalComms Database adds that Net4Mobility won additional 1800MHz band spectrum in October 2011, also earmarked for 4G expansion, which became valid under licence from January 2013.

The cellco’s Net4Mobility infrastructure-sharing partner Telenor is similarly augmenting existing 2600MHz LTE coverage with 800MHz and 1800MHz services, with the Norwegian-backed operator having switched on live 1800MHz services in Q1 2013, and is thought to be focusing on the 1800MHz band rather than 900MHz services; TeleGeography notes that the popular iPhone5 handset supports 4G in the 1800MHz band in Europe but not in the 2600MHz, 800MHz or 900MHz bands.