The 35 minute video streaming press conference that TeliaSonera just held can best be described as: “WE ROCK, WE’RE FIRST, SWEDEN, SWEDEN, SWEDEN!” The company is officially the first operator in the world to launch a commercial LTE network. Starting tomorrow, customers in the cities of Stockholm and Oslo will be able to pick up an LTE modem built by Samsung. The price of the modem was not revealed, but the cost of the data plan was: 600 SEK ($85) per month with a bandwidth cap of 30 GB. That price will kick in on July 1st, 2010. Customers who are crazy enough to try out the brand new LTE network, repeatedly referred to as early adopters and pioneers, will pay the promotional offer of only 4 SEK ($0.65) per month. The 30 GB bandwidth cap will also not be enforced as TeliaSonera is curious to see how much data people actually use so they can give a more realistic figure.
As the network stands today, it only covers 400,000 people. The plan is to expand to 25 cities in Sweden during the course of 2010. It will cost roughly 500 million SEK ($70 million) to light up those 25 cities. The dongle has some issues as well: it only works on a PC and it only supports 4G, meaning if you roam out of the LTE network you have to remove your 4G dongle and plug in a 3G dongle. Customers will be upgraded, for free, to a combo 3G/4G dongle in Q2 2010. Whether that one will support Mac OS X or not was not revealed.
Realistically speaking, a customer will experience between 20 and 80 Mbits per second. During a demo on stage it took around 1 minute to transmit a 100 MB file over FTP. When asked about LTE mobile phones, the answer given was: “I don’t think we’ll see 4G phones until 2011.”