TeliaSonera touts 4G progress and OTT alternatives

LIVE FROM OPEN MOBILE SUMMIT LONDON 2012: TeliaSonera has built out its 4G LTE network to cover two out of three of the Swedish population and three in four in Denmark, the Nordic operator’s mobility head, Hakan Dahlstrom, told delegates at the Open Mobile Summit in London this morning.

The company was the first in Europe to launch commercial 4G services at the end of 2009 and now claims to have increased sales and margins as a result – while keeping capex at below 10 percent of net sales in Sweden.

Dahlstrom said it had 140,000 4G users in Sweden but declined to give data for TeliaSonera’s other markets. “The number of [4G] customers is growing in line with [network] expansion,” he said.

The operator’s first 4G handset and 4G router were launched in Q1 2012.

Dahlstrom said the average smartphone user in the Nordics is consuming 300MB of data per month and that this is set to increase to 3GB per month in “just a few years.” Mobile broadband users are on track to consume 45GB per month within five years, he added.

Dahlstrom was broadly in favour of the so-called OTT services using its network but said that TeliaSonera was in a position to offer alternatives.

“The OTT players are increasing the value of the access we are providing to the end user [and] our role is to support this behaviour,” he said. “Access is separate from services. We will treat [the OTT players] like our own services but we will provide alternatives.”

To this end, he said that TeliaSonera was planning an RCS-based communicator to compete with the likes of WhatsApp and Skype. “Not everyone needs to go with our communicator but our customers are asking for this.”

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