Now Madrid joins the LTE-A club as Vodafone tests out ultrafast 4G in Spanish capital

Next-gen network pilot sees sustained speeds of 280Mbps.
Written by Steve Evans, Contributor

Vodafone Spain is trialling LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) in Madrid ahead of a possible wider rollout in 2014.

LTE-A is the successor to the current generation of 4G connections in use across Europe and offers wider bandwidth, meaning consumers should get faster speeds.

Vodafone said on Tuesday it saw "sustained" speeds of more than 280Mbps during the trial, while top speeds reached 297Mbps. Today's LTE connections typically offer a theoretical maximum download speed of 150Mbps, with real-world speeds often far lower.

According to a report in Cinco Dias, if the trials prove to be a success, Vodafone wants to make LTE-A commercially available in Madrid and Barcelona early next year, although no definite timeframe for a rollout has been revealed. The company, along with Spain's other telcos, is waiting for the government to free up 800MHz spectrum before pushing ahead with any LTE-A deployment.

Vodafone said in a statement that LTE-A would be available in the in the coming quarters Madrid and Barcelona, and will be compatible with the first LTE-A-compatible devices to hit the markets.

Currently, no hardware that works with LTE-A is commerically available, with Vodafone's trials using pre-release devices. LTE-A routers and dongles are expected to be first to market next summer, with LTE-A-enabled smartphones following a few months after.

Its current 4G services, as well as the LTE-A trials, use the 1800Mhz and 2600MHz spectrum bands. The trial is taking place in the Neuvos Ministerios part of Madrid, an area to the north of the city centre where a large number of businesses and government bodies are located.

Vodafone became the first Spanish mobile operator to launch 4G services in the country, beating Movistar, Orange and Yoigo. Its services, which went live in May, are now operating across Spain's biggest cities, including Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Zaragoza, Malaga, Seville, and Bilbao.

Businesses with Vodafone contracts were able to upgrade to 4G without paying a price premium for the higher speed service, while consumers could upgrade to 4G for €9 per month extra.

Further reading

Editorial standards