Monaco Telecom pilots LTE

Monaco Telecom, the local operator of the French principality, has launched a pilot project to roll out LTE-based 4G services.

Cable and Wireless, Monaco Telecom’s main shareholder, has selected Monaco to be a 4G test-bed for the group as a whole. The roll out is in conjunction with Ericsson, which is providing network infrastructure equipment, while Samsung has provided the dongles.

According to a report in French publication, La Tribune, Ericsson has installed four LTE antennas in the principality, and the network extends 25 kilometres to Nice. In real world testing by La Tribune it was possible to download a film in less than five minutes, and to watch sports in HD – something that was not possible over the 3G network.

“This is an important agreement for Ericsson, Franck Bouétard, chief executive of Ericsson France, said in a statement.  “Through this partnership with Monaco Telecom we have the chance to showcase our technological leadership and experience in telecom services while supporting the successful launch of the principality’s 4G LTE network”.

The pilot scheme has been set in place with an aim to roll out commercially by 2013. “It is too early to announce a commercial launch date more specific than in 2013, “said Martin Péronnet, chief executive of Monaco Telecom, in a statement, adding that the operator wished to be ready as soon as an LTE capable handset was released in Europe.

Monaco is a small market with just over 26,000 mobile subscribers according to Informa stats, but according to Péronnet mobile internet usage increased by a factor of four in 2010. “As this trend continues to accelerate, the volume of data exchanged in January 2014 will be equivalent to the volume for the entire year in 2010,” he said in a statement. “70 per cent of telephones sold in Monaco are smartphones. And in December 2010, one third of contracts signed were for tablet computers and 3G dongles.”

Ericsson is a Gold sponsor of the upcoming LTE World Summit 2011, due to be held on 17-18th May in RAI, Amsterdam and it has twice made the shortlist for the LTE Awards 2011.

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