Huawei is attempting to steal a march in the LTE device space by today unveiling what it claims is the world’s first triple-mode LTE modem. The Chinese vendor said the E398 LTE device is backwards compatible with 3G UMTS and 2G GSM technology.

The move appears to be an attempt to deflect attention away from Samsung’s efforts in this space so far. At the end of last year Samsung provided TeliaSonera with an ‘LTE-only’ USB dongle – supporting the Nordic operator’s commercial launch of the technology in December, a global first – and said at the time it will upgrade the device to support HSPA and EDGE services in the first half of 2010.

Huawei didn’t provide any further details on when the Qualcomm-powered E398 modem will be available, but it did confirm that the device will be provided to Net4Mobility. The operator is the Swedish joint venture of Tele2 and Telenor.

Net4Mobility’s mission is “to build and operate Sweden’s most extensive network for next generation mobile communications.” The new mobile network will cover 99 percent of the population and aims to enable Telenor and Tele2 to offer its customers mobile services for data communication (LTE) and voice (GSM).  The network will be launched this year. Huawei is also supplying network kit to the operator.