Telefonica Germany to launch 800MHz rural LTE on 1 July

O2 will launch LTE in Germany on 1 July 2011, though initially only via DSL replacement routers in rural areas

Telefónica Germany has announced plans to launch LTE services on July 1, 2011. However the launch will be limited to DSL replacement routers capped at speeds of 7.2Mbps.

Two services are being launched, both branded ‘O2 LTE für Zuhause’, one aimed at home users, with a 10GB per month cap, and the other aimed at business users, with a 12GB per month cap. After the download cap has been reached, speeds will be throttled at UMTS 384Kbps for the remainder of the month. Both will cost €29.90 per month for six months and after that €39.90 per month, with a minimum 24-month contract.

The LTE router itself will cost €49.90 and there’s a €49.90 connection free. The router models available will be either a Huawei B390 or the Fritz!Box 6840 LTE.

O2 said the service will initially be availabel in several rural areas with others to be added in mid-July.

“With ‘O2 LTE für Zuhause’ rural areas will finally have fast internet access as well,“ René Schuster, CEO of Telefónica Germany said in a statement. “Video streaming, fast downloads and online computer games are no longer an issue in rural areas.”

Operating on 800MHz, which the company obtained via Germany’s “digital dividend” auction last year, the service is aimed at reaching white spots in rural areas that otherwise would not be able to receive broadband of any kind.

Spectrum in the 800MHz band attracted some of the highest bids at auction, not least because of its suitability for LTE deployments. 800MHz spectrum was granted to O2, T-Mobile and Vodafone last year on condition that it first be used to service rural areas that are under-served by fixed broadband.

The operator initially announced its intention to launch in July at CeBIT in March, where it said it would be using Nokia Siemens Networks for the infrastructure.

The launch will be the second for LTE in Germany, following on from that of Vodafone, which launched a service, supported by dongles, on December 1, 2010.

The fourth annual LTE North America Conference takes place in Texas, US, November 8-9



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