300Mbps mobile is almost here: LTE-A devices poised for release in Europe

Swisscom and Bouygues Telecom have rolled out LTE-A network-side, and commercial availability is now tantalisingly close.
Written by Jo Best, Contributor
Bordeaux, one of the first LTE-A towns in France. Image: Shutterstock

After a series of lab tests and pilots across the continent, LTE-A will soon be available to the average user in Europe.

Known as LTE-Advanced or 4G+, the network tech delivers speeds up to double those found standard 4G.

Bouygues Telecom in France and Switzerland's Swisscom both announced this week that they will make LTE-A available to customers in their respective countries later this year.

Bouygues has rolled out LTE-A in a number of towns and cities already: Lyon, Bordeaux, Grenoble, Vanves, Issy-les-Moulineaux, Malakoff and Rosny-sous-Bois.  A further 16 will be added in September: Avignon, Clermont-Ferrand, Dijon, Toulon, Nîmes, Rennes, Grenoble, Chartres, St Etienne, Rouen, Perpignan, Lyon and Bordeaux.

Customers won't be able to use the higher-speed service for some weeks yet, however, as LTE-A compatible hardware will only be available from next month. Initially, the new LTE-A will be offered as a broadband replacement, with the Huawei 4G+ Gateway and the Bbox Nomad 4G+ hotspot the first pieces of LTE-A kit to go on sale through Bouygues.

For those wanting higher speed smartphones, there's a longer wait yet: the first LTE-A compatible handsets are coming in September.

According to Bouygues, the LTE-A network will deliver maximum theoretical download speeds of up to 220Mbps and will be offered to users in coverage areas for no extra charge.

Like Bouygues, Swisscom has rolled out LTE-A on its network ahead of making it available to the public.

Its LTE-A coverage already extends around the railway stations in Lausanne and Berne, and will shortly be deployed more widely in the latter city and nearby Biel/Bienne.

There's a longer wait for hardware in Switzerland – LTE-A devices will be sold by the carrier from September.

Swisscom said the cities of Zurich, Geneva, Lucerne, Lugano, and Basel are also scheduled to get LTE-A. The higher speed version of 4G will bring maximum download speeds of 300Mbps in Switzerland, Swisscom said, thanks to carrier aggregation.

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