In this post, Mark Heath, recognises the 4G leadership of TeliaSonera, which has just launched LTE services in Denmark. His analysis shows the importance of early deployment of LTE in the Nordic countries to support rapid increases in mobile broadband penetrations.
I would like to congratulate Nordic mobile network operator TeliaSonera for being one of the most forward-looking mobile network operators in Europe. TeliaSonera is demonstrating strong leadership in 4G (LTE) services, in terms of early deployment and, much more importantly, widespread 4G network deployment.
TeliaSonera was the first mobile network operator in the world to launch LTE services, launching LTE networks in Sweden and Norway in December 2009. TeliaSonera has just launched an LTE network in Denmark in December 2010 and plans to cover about 75% of the population during 2011. TeliaSonera now offers LTE services in four Nordic countries: Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark.
Historically, the Nordic area has been a ‘hot bed’ for mobile telephony, achieving very high mobile phone penetration well before the larger Western European countries and the USA. When it comes to 4G mobile broadband services, the Nordic countries and operators look set to maintain their status as ‘mobile leaders’.
Countries such as Finland, Sweden and Denmark are providing us with valuable insight into the future evolution of mobile broadband services. As shown in the chart below, these three countries have experienced substantial growth in mobile broadband penetration, well above the average for Europe. Mobile broadband penetration in Finland nearly doubled within 12 months.
Not surprisingly, fixed broadband services are being affected by the dramatic growth in mobile broadband penetration, as shown in the corresponding chart below. Finland, Sweden and Denmark all have fixed broadband penetration rates well in excess of the European average. However, the rate of increase in fixed broadband penetration rates for these countries has slowed dramatically, to less than the European average. Indeed, in Finland, fixed broadband penetration actually declined in the 12 month period to January 2010.
Mobile network operators will need to make substantial investment in LTE to support the rapid growth in mobile broadband penetration and to ensure that mobile broadband services can match the performance of fixed broadband services. However, as they do so, fixed network operators face challenging times as they suffer substitution from mobile broadband services.