Norwegian mobile network operator NetCom, a subsidiary of TeliaSonera, has announced plans to boost 4G coverage from the 50% of the population currently able to access the network to 65% by end-April 2014. With the cellco saying it currently offers LTE-based services in 116 municipalities, it aims to increase this number to 166 by the end of next month using the 800MHz spectrum it acquired via auction at the end of last year. Initial base station activations will take place in Hovden, Golsfjellet, Geilo and Skeikampen.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in December 2013 NetCom was named as one of the winners in the multi-band spectrum auction conducted by the Norwegian Post & Telecoms Authority (NPT). Following the conclusion of the sale process it was confirmed that NetCom would be awarded 2×10MHz in the 800MHz, 2×5MHz in the 900MHz band and 2×10MHz in the 1800MHz band. With regards to the 800MHz spectrum, which contains a coverage obligation, all operators that secured such frequencies, including NetCom, are required to fulfil a usage obligation to provide mobile broadband services offering average access speeds of at least 2Mbps to 40% of the population within four years of the award of licences. In addition, with NetCom having bagged the ‘A2’ block in the 800MHz band it has undertaken the obligation to ensure that 98% of the population has access to mobile broadband services offering average access speeds of at least 2Mbps, and such services should be provided primarily through the utilisation of 800MHz spectrum; this obligation must be fulfilled within five years from the award of the licence.