Analyst: Bandwidth in Swedish LTE Network Disappoints

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The download speed offered by Swedish operator TeliaSonera's LTE (Long-Term Evolution) network never exceeded 12M bps when tested by market research company Northstream, a far cry from the "up to 50Mbps" promised on the provider's Web site.

In December, TeliaSonera became the first operator in the world to offer commercial LTE services, in the central parts of Stockholm and Oslo.

Northstream used a Samsung Electronics modem and the broadband-measuring site Bredbandskollen to conduct the test. While Northstream found the download speed disappointing, the service's upload speed of 5M bps (bits per second) proved impressive, according to a corporate blog post from Wednesday.

During TeliaSonera's launch event, download speeds that exceeded 40M bps were achieved, judging by Bredbandskollen. The upload speeds measured were more in line with the 5M bps that Northstream experienced.

TeliaSonera's LTE network, which uses spectrum in the 2.6GHz band, is still in its infancy. The distance from Northstream's offices to a base station could explain the lower-than-expected download speed, according to Northstream CEO Bengt Nordström.

"It seems like the capacity drops off fast as the distance from a base station increases," said Nordström.

Questions to TeliaSonera about the distance from its offices to a base station went unanswered, according to Nordström.

TeliaSonera does not want to enter a technical discussion on why Northstream was not able to get higher speeds, according to a spokeswoman.

The actual bandwidth in any kind of mobile network will vary depending on where you are, the number of users in the network and what kind of service the subscriber is using, she said.

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