Berne, 07 October 2010
The demand for mobile data communication is huge, with the volume of data transmitted over the Swisscom network currently doubling every seven months. One reason for this is the success of smartphones: every second mobile phone purchased from Swisscom is now an Internet-capable multimedia device. So that it can continue to offer customers ever faster mobile Internet access and ensure that it is equipped for future developments, Swisscom invests hundreds of millions annually in upgrading its mobile network.
To gain more practical experience with LTE, Swisscom launched a series of laboratory tests in April of this year, and since September has been running a pilot test in Grenchen in the canton of Solothurn. The tests are proceeding well: the LTE network shows stable operation, also during mobile usage (in cars for example). Download speeds of up to 100 Mbps have been reached. The response times that are important today for many Internet applications are well below the current values. Swisscom will decide on its next course of action concerning network expansion once the pilot test is completed at the end of 2010. LTE is expected to be added to the Swisscom mobile network at the earliest in 2011. The exact timeline will depend on how the market continues to develop and in particular on the availability of devices and network equipment.
Expansion of the mobile network has top priority for Swisscom. Today Swisscom already covers the whole of Switzerland with EDGE technology, and with its HSPA network reaches around 92% of the population. The mobile network is supplemented by around 1,200 WLAN hotspots. By the end of this year Swisscom's entire HSPA network will be upgraded to support speeds of 7.2 Mbps (compared with 3.6 Mbps at present); at some 500 mobile transmission sites, HSPA+ even supports speeds as high as 21 Mbps. The mobile base stations are also being connected step-by-step to the Swisscom fibre network; around a third are already connected by fibre-optic cable.
All the measures referred to above serve to provide Swisscom customers with fast, easy access to the mobile data network. Swisscom already occupies a top position with its mobile network. This was recently confirmed in an extensive network test conducted by the technical journal connect (No. 11/2010). For the second year running Swisscom claimed top spot and even succeeded in widening the gap to its competitors.