As the GSMA (News - Alert) Intelligence dashboard mapping worldwide 4G-LTE launches shows that 4G-LTE deployments are rapidly accelerating. The numbers, certainly in terms of subscribers, are going to get a big boost in the coming months as a result of the announcement that Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) has reached an agreement with Telefonica, to become a reference supplier for its 4G LTE network in Spain. This is big in that it represents one of the largest 4G LTE projects in Western Europe.
A big deal for a big 4G-LTE network
Here are the significant aspects of the deal:
- Telefonica (News - Alert) Spain selected Alcatel-Lucent to deliver a 4G LTE network overlay.
- Alcatel-Lucent will deploy some 8,000 4G LTE base stations and the 5620 Service Aware (News - Alert) Manager (5620 SAM).
- Commercial 4G LTE networks are about 10 times faster than 3G networks. Network tests demonstrated upload speeds of around 10 megabits-per-second and low latency connections of 50 milliseconds. This is critical for video sharing and online gaming which increasingly represent the bulk of bandwidth consumption on mobile networks.
- Alcatel-Lucent will also deliver installation and turnkey project management services in the initial phase of the project, as well as systems integration, maintenance and configuration optimization to reduce time-to-market even further for Telefonica Spain.
- This is the largest 4G LTE agreement for Alcatel-Lucent in Western Europe to date, and is an important part of its revitalization efforts that are part of its new focus from its SHIFT initiative.
- Agreement follows two successful pre-commercial 4G LTE pilot networks in Madrid and Barcelona and the demonstration of Alcatel-Lucent's 4G LTE capabilities over a live network- consisting of small 'metro cells' and macro base stations with Telefonica in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress (News - Alert) 2012.
- Deployment complements Telefonica Spain's existing ultra-broadband fiber network.
- Alcatel-Lucent now has more than 40 contracts for commercial deployments, including two of the largest 4G LTE network roll-outs. Two more are in process and there are more than 40 trials worldwide.
This is an important milestone from Alcatel-Lucent and its 4G-LTE portfolio of solutions. Roque Lozano, president of Alcatel-Lucent Spain and global account manager for Telefonica, said: "This is a significant agreement for Alcatel-Lucent and our largest in scope to date in Western Europe. We are very excited to be able to work with Telefonica Spain in its 4G LTE project to serve its customers throughout the country. And we are ready to further explore other wireless technologies down the road, such as small cells to enhance coverage anytime, anywhere and over any device toward a wider collaboration framework."
Image via Shutterstock
What the industry has observed with the continuing roll-outs of 4G-LTE networks is that there is a real need for speed that is being driven by the explosion of smartphones and tablets and what seems to be an insatiable demand for quality video of all types—up-loading, streamed and real-time interactive. Customers have shown a willingness to pay for quality experiences, and 4G-LTE where available is giving it to them without the need to hunt for a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Telefonica is more than aware of the competitive advantages it can derive in its home market from being fast in the market, and would like to head off the encroachment by agile newcomers like EE has been able to achieve in a very short period of time in the U.K. Given the aggressiveness of Telefonica, it will be interesting to see how fast it deploys 4G-LTE in the rest of its expansive empire of franchises as well as how much it will rely on Alcatel-Lucent as the reference supplier for additional network expansions.
Edited by Alisen Downey