Today Europe took another huge step forward on its journey to deliver mobile broadband. Telefónica announced the expansion of its 4G LTE (long-term evolution) network in Spain, one of the largest in Western Europe. This is yet another key part of building out a true high-speed mobile broadband footprint in Europe.
Alcatel-Lucent is a major partner in the project installing the LTE network as an overlay to their existing 3G mobile equipment. We feel this will help Telefonica get up and running faster, giving subscribers the performance they crave now, while being better equipped to exploit continuous broadband innovations in future. This is in addition to Alcatel-Lucent’s work with Telefónica’s fiber network (FTTH GPON) in Spain developing and integrating its Movistar IPTV service.
It also comes on the heels of a number of key 4G activities in our Europe/Middle East/Africa region, including Smile and Surfline in Africa and Iraq’s Regional Telecom. We have been able to use our real world experience, gained from large deployments with Verizon and AT&T in the US, and bring that to the next LTE wave in Europe, Latin America and the continued new mobile networks in Asia.
Why is LTE so important? High-speed digital networks are central to virtually every type of business and public sector activity – they help drive job creation, innovation and economic growth. High-quality broadband networks are essential if Europe is to compete effectively in the global economy. Wireless is an increasingly important part of the broadband mix, and European countries can expect to benefit in a wide variety of ways from the introduction broadband services, based on LTE technology.
To date, much of the discussion around mobile broadband has tended to focus on consumption of content, through faster connections to entertainment and social networks. These are of course important aspects of the service, but LTE will have a much wider influence on public life, particularly in terms of economics, education, inclusiveness and the delivery of a wide array of public services.
This is particularly a watershed moment for me. I have spent my career in telecom working to build bigger and better networks. I have watched broadband evolve from copper wires carrying access to the internet to high-speed optical connections downloading on-demand movies in seconds.
As the head of our wireless business I watch eagerly as Europe begins to take a major step in its mobile broadband journey. As part of Alcatel-Lucent, I know we are standing by and ready to work with our customers on new ways to accomplish bringing our experience with our US build-outs. We are also bringing new ideas and emerging technology from Bell Labs. We will apply this knowledge thoughtfully and the most exciting part — the best is yet to come. Once the LTE backbone is in place new applications will thrive, businesses will innovate and most importantly we will strengthen our connections with each other – which in the end is exactly what communications is all about.