Telia highlights 4G growth at tenth anniversary, criticises 5G auction delay

17 Dec 2019

Swedish telco Telia has released some figures on 4G usage to mark the tenth anniversary of the switch-on of the world’s first LTE network in Stockholm. In its first year of service Telia’s 4G system accounted for just 2% of data traffic on its combined mobile networks. 4G usage really took off after the launch of the first LTE-enabled Apple iPhone in October 2013, Telia says; by 2014 4G was contributing almost half the total data traffic and by 2018 this figure had jumped to 92%.

As it prepares for the launch of 5G, Telia has also questioned Swedes on the new generation of mobile technology. It found that while many had heard of 5G, only one-in-three had an idea what the next generation networks should be used for.

The firm has also criticised the regulator’s decision to postpone the forthcoming auction of 5G-capable spectrum. Last month the Post and Telecom Agency (PTS) said it would not allocate 5G-capable frequencies in the 2.3GHz and 3.5GHz bands during the first quarter of 2020, as previously announced. The regulator said it was delaying the licensing due to work being carried out to update the country’s Electronic Communications Act (LEK), the latest version of which is due to enter force on 1 January 2020.

Anders Olsson, CEO of Telia Sweden, commented: ‘It’s an unfortunate decision, especially in light of other countries being [so] far ahead of us. Day by day Swedish businesses are increasingly left behind. Sweden was the number one 4G country globally and thanks to that we are a forerunner in digital development. A further 5G delay would only have a negative impact on the competitiveness of the Swedish industry. I believe and hope that PTS will solve this as quickly as possible. As soon as the frequencies have been assigned, we will launch 5G to ensure that Sweden stays at the forefront of digitalisation.’

Sweden, Telia Sweden