TeliaSonera claims first with 4G roaming


Announces 4G roaming for its Danish customers visiting Sweden, but is it really a big deal?

TeliaSonera has announced 4G roaming for its Danish customers visiting Sweden, yet a leading mobile analyst has questioned the importance of the announcement.

At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the operator stated that this is the first step towards global 4G roaming in all of TeliaSonera's markets, and a European first the operator stated.

However, Steven Hartley, telco strategy analyst at research firm, Ovum, commented that the announcement was something of a damp squib: 'While any development in LTE roaming must be applauded, the time it has taken to reach such a seemingly underwhelming point speaks volumes about the inherent complexities of roaming and the challenges that remain.

'At first glance, the announcement that customers from a market that has had LTE for two years can roam to a network operated by the same company in a neighbouring country looks like nothing exciting,' said Hartley. 'This is especially the case given that the industry is used to international roaming between continents and operators. However, this would be to ignore the progress made in 2G and 3G roaming, and hides the nascent state of the LTE market.'

Hartley continued to add that the 4G tidal wave faces many hurdles going forward, including spectrum fragmentation, the huge number of mobile operators and their respective roaming deals with each other, and the issue of roaming pricing.

He explained: 'Many challenges remain before LTE roaming becomes ubiquitous. On a global scale, there is spectrum fragmentation. Yet it is the operational perspective and bilateral nature of roaming deals that adds complexity and explains why this is an important stepping stone in the technology's development. All of these issues manifest themselves in the commercial details of roaming tariffs. Can innovative mobile broadband tariffs be used abroad? Will pricing be limited to a per megabyte basis? How much will it cost to use LTE abroad? Unfortunately, TeliaSonera has not provided any answers in its announcement, but at least roaming has arrived.'

This spring the service for Danish customers will expand to more countries, and TeliaSonera customers from other countries will be able to use the 4G roaming service as well.

Tommy Ljunggren, VP and head of network development for mobility services at TeliaSonera, stated: 'We are proud to once again act as pioneers and introduce 4G roaming. We strongly believe that modern mobile technology should be accessible and easy to use both domestically and abroad. That is the reason why we have a strong focus on enabling the customers to utilise the possibilities with 4G seamlessly, even across borders. Today's great news is the first important step in that direction.'


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