Orange has launched its 4G network in Switzerland.
The LTE network, which covers around 35 percent of the Swiss population, has gone live in 10 cities: Basel, Berne, Biel, Geneva, Lausanne, Lugano, Lucerne, St. Gallen, Winterthur and Zurich. Five ski resorts — Davos, St. Moritz/Celerina, Saas Fee, Grindelwald, and Lauterbrunnen — will also get 4G coverage at launch.
Download speeds on the network will be up to 100Mbps, Orange said on Tuesday.
Both prepay and postpay customers with 4G-compatible phones will be able to use the LTE network without paying any extra. According to Orange, 180,000 of its users already have such devices and four in five handsets it now sells are 4G-friendly.
Orange will be expanding its LTE network in the second half of this year and will have 71 percent coverage by population by the close of 2013. It's also aiming to take its theoretical maximum download speed to 150Mbps by then too.
To finance the changes, Orange is putting an extra CHF 25m into the network, taking its total cost to CHF 100m.
Orange is the second operator in Switzerland to launch a 4G network. The country's biggest telco Swisscom has had its LTE network up and running since late 2012, and announced earlier this month that it planned to raise download speeds from 100Mbps to 150Mbps in June. Second-placed operator Sunrise meanwhile is yet to sell commercial 4G services, but is piloting an LTE network and has promised it will go live in 11 cities this year.