KPN is joining the vanguard of European operators offering LTE-Advanced services on a commercial basis via plans to deploy LTE on a second spectrum band next month.
The company said it will launch 4G services on the 1.8 GHz spectrum band on 1 July, in addition to its existing services on the 800 MHz band. It said the activation of LTE-Advanced will follow “thereafter”.
KPN became the first Dutch operator to offer nationwide 4G coverage in the first quarter of the year. Its next step is to combine the existing offering with the 1.8 GHz frequency using LTE-Advanced technology, which should offer theoretical peak download speeds of up to 200 Mb/s.
KPN is working with Ericsson on the LTE-Advanced deployment, which will initially take place in Amsterdam, Schiphol, Rotterdam, Utrecht, The Hague and Eindhoven.
From 1 July, all 4G customers will have higher download speeds of 50 Mb/s. In addition, most SIM-only and handset offerings will feature increased data allowance.
LTE-Advanced services are starting to be launched commercially in Europe.
France’s Bouygues Telecom announced this week that it has LTE-Advanced up and running in seven cities, although customers will have to wait until 1 July for devices able to support the technology. Bouygues can now offer theoretical peak speeds up to 220Mb/s.
Switzerland’s Swisscom launched two small LTE-Advanced networks earlier this week and said it will extend the service into the cities of Berne and Biel/Bienne in early July.
The UK’s largest operator EE plans to launch LTE-Advanced services by the end of the summer, starting in central London, following a small pilot last November.
EE CEO Olaf Swantee told Mobile World Live that the technology will enable theoretical peak speeds of 300Mb/s, and will later rollout everywhere within the M25 motorway.
South Korea is leading the way with LTE-Advanced, with the technology deployed by all three national operators, with theoretical peak download speeds soon expected to reach 300 Mb/s. Mobile broadband speeds are now so high in South Korea that operators are no longer able to differentiate by network speed.
According to a 4G Americas report released this week, LTE-Advanced is now commercially deployed on nine networks in seven countries worldwide, with those numbers expected to reach 40 networks by year-end 2014.