Sweden, it turns out, is the place to be for long-term evolution deployments. Two more operators, Telenor Sweden and Tele2, have announced plans to launch commercial LTE networks in 2010 as a joint venture. This follows on the heels of the TeliaSonera’s January announcementthat it will launch two Scandinavian networks–in Oslo and Stockholm–by year end.
Sweden enjoys an advantage over its European counterparts in that it and Norway were the first to auction off their 2.6 GHz 4G licenses. The top three carriers in Sweden are taking advantage of that head-start to bring their LTE networks to market quickly, matching even the ultra-aggressive Verizon Wireless’s LTE rollout timeframe.
Perhaps most interesting about Tele2 and Telenor’s plans is the joint venture. The two companies are mitigating the costs of a 4G rollout by sharing spectrum and infrastructure–a trend that’s becoming quite common. Telus and Bell Canada are pooling assets to build a high-speed packet access network, which will eventually become an LTE network. Even Clearwire’s WiMAX network was created in collaboration. Though not officially a joint venture, Clearwire took possession of Sprint’s 4G spectrum and networks in exchange for a substantial ownership stake.