Mobile Europe June/July – Filling in the gaps of national coverage

Bengt Nordström, CEO of telecoms consultancy Northstream agrees, pointing out that from the early days of 3G right up to more recent LTE roll-outs, the Swedish government has chosen no to host nationwide spectrum auctions. Instead, it allocated spectrum licenses to operators who committed to build networks that would provide the most geographical coverage. The four operators who received licenses did so because they promised more than 99 percent nationwide coverage. To meet their commitments, the operators worked together to share the cost and scale of their network build-outs.

Nordstrom says: “Sharing network infrastructure – while not being burdened with debt from having paid a high price in a spectrum auction – meant that the operators could properly invest in building networks that would deliver the best coverage and service quality for subscribers.”

“For less mature LTE markets, the lesson from Scandinavia is not a technology one but political: avoid expensive spectrum auctions that might be lucrative for the Government, but which also drain money out of the sector and prevent operators investing in and building high-quality networks.”

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How would you assess the LTE roaming lanscape in Europe? Bengt Nordström, Northstream: “More and more LTE operators now offer “roam like home” roaming packages that let you take your domestic price plan with you abroad. But rather than an LTE trend, this is down to, firstly, increased competition between operators and also a wider [...]
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