Berne, 10 February 2010
Mobile Internet has become an essential part of everyday life in today's world and is easily accessible via smartphones and notebooks with integrated Internet access. Every third mobile phone sold is now a smartphone. These devices are perfect for mobile surfing, e-mailing, chatting and video streaming. Another reason for the huge expansion in their use is the massive fall in prices for mobile data transmission: for instance, Swisscom's average price per megabyte has dropped by around 95 per cent in the last three years.
The result is that, on Swisscom's mobile network alone, data transmission volumes double every eight months. And there's no end in sight to this trend. This is a major challenge for providers such as Swisscom who need to increase their network coverage, transmission speeds and network capacity. LTE will help them to achieve this. LTE stands for "Long Term Evolution" and is considered the next generation of mobile technology after UMTS/HSPA.
In an effort to discover more about LTE in the field, Swisscom will be carrying out laboratory tests beginning in April 2010, followed by a field trial. Testing is expected to continue until autumn 2010. According to the current schedule, LTE will be added to the Swisscom mobile network in 2011 at the earliest. The results of the field trial should help finalise these plans.
Swisscom considers itself a mobile Internet pioneer. Whether GPRS, UMTS or HSPA, no other Swiss provider achieved nationwide coverage as quickly as Swisscom. Back in 2004 Swisscom launched Mobile Unlimited, a PC card which gives laptop users quick, uninterrupted Internet access while on the move. Since then, Swisscom has built up a nationwide mobile broadband network, and at highly-frequented locations, speeds of up to 28.8 Mbps are already possible thanks to HSPA+.
Considered to be the fourth mobile communications standard, LTE technology will initially enable download speeds of up to 150 Mbps and data transfer speeds of up to 50 Mbps, with likely future speeds of up to 300 Mbps. LTE will thus establish the basis for increasingly broadband-intensive Internet applications on the mobile communications network, such as high-definition live television.
Around the world, experience with LTE technology remains limited. No LTE-compatible devices are currently commercially available. They are expected to become available in small numbers by the end of 2010 at the earliest.