New frequencies allocated to telecommunications companies allowing them to build 4G mobile networks

Press release 24.04.2009 09.25 fi sv en

TeliaSonera, Elisa and DNA have been allocated additional frequencies enabling them to start building fourth generation (4G) mobile networks.

The frequencies are located in the 1,800 MHz band, which will make Finland the first country in Europe to allow the use of 4G LTE technology at such low frequencies. As a result, fast 4G networks can be provided with a substantially wider coverage at a lower cost than commonly used 2,600 MHz networks, which require a considerably larger number of base stations.

According to the Minister of Communications Suvi Lindén, the decision is unique and it means that wireless networks capable of transferring data more efficiently can now be introduced in Finland more rapidly.

- "The decision will help to make fast wireless networks more widely available in all parts of Finland and they will now also become accessible to people living outside built-up areas. I hope that telecommunications companies start making preparations for the introduction of the 4G technology even though at the moment, the emphasis is still on 3G technology," she adds.

Until now the 1,800 MHz band has only been available to GSM and 3G (UMTS) technology. The frequencies now allocated will provide operators with access to a considerably wider frequency band, a requirement for the introduction of the 4G technology.

The decision will also allow the development of 4G networks in a situation where 3G networks are still the dominant technology. This will probably eventually facilitate the changeover from one technology to another and allow the transition to proceed in a flexible manner.

The introduction of the new LTE technology would, among other things, speed up data transfer and improve services. In principle, the LTE technology is compatible with existing 3G networks even though in the EU the matter is still being looked into.

LTE may, however, be commercially available in Europe as early as 2009 or 2010. According to Lindén, it is therefore necessary to ensure that telecommunications companies can introduce the technology in Finland very quickly.

Further information:

Sami Paatero, Special Adviser, tel. +358 9 160 28324
Juhapekka Ristola, Director of Communications Networks Unit, tel. +358 9 160 28348 or +358 400 788 530