Swisscom launches LTE-A
Swisscom, Switzerland’s fixed line incumbent and largest telco by subscribers, has announced that it has completed the deployment of Long Term Evolution Advanced (LTE-A) technology, becoming the first company in the country to implement the platform. Swisscom began testing LTE-A in its labs in February this year, and has rolled out the technology in the Berne and Lausanne railway stations, with plans to make the service available in Berne and Biel by the start of July. In its press release the state-backed cellco explained that the development is intended to meet rising demand for data, noting that music and video streaming accounts for around 65% of the data transmitted over its mobile network and as such, ‘the volume of data in the mobile network is practically doubling year-on-year.’ Swisscom offers unlimited data on its ‘Infinity’ plans, with prices and tariffs differentiated by a download speed cap. Whilst this model places a greater strain on the operator’s network, Swisscom noted at end-2013 that customers switching to the plans generated greater ARPU. LTE-A boosts the potential maximum downlink speed to 300Mbps, from the top speed of 150Mbps currently available on the cellco’s LTE network, which covers 91% of the Swiss population. Whilst the LTE-A network will be available in Berne and Biel from the start of next month, Swisscom noted that LTE-A compatible devices will not go on sale until autumn 2014.