Spain to get first 4G mobile network in July

Yoigo, Spain's smallest mobile operator, looks likely to beat its bigger rivals to the punch by launching LTE networks this summer.
Written by Steve Evans, Contributor

Spanish mobile operator Yoigo has announced it will launch 4G mobile coverage in July this year, becoming the first in the country to do so.

Yoigo's service, which will use the 1800MHz band and offer speeds up to 100Mbps, will first be launched in Madrid before spreading to other major cities during 2013 and 2014.

TeliaSonera, Yoigo's parent company, hopes to have 37 percent of the population covered by the end of this year and 75 percent by the end of 2014.

The move will be a shot in the arm for Yoigo, which is only Spain's fourth largest mobile operator. Movistar, owned by Telefonica, is the biggest, with Vodafone and Orange taking the second and third spots respectively. None of the big three have so far confirmed plans for a 4G rollout, although reports suggest Movistar and Orange are both planning to launch LTE services during 2012.

None of Yoigo’s rivals responded to ZDNet's request for comments on their 4G plans.

According to Reuters, Yoigo's CEO Eduardo Taulet said at a news conference the company will spend €200m over the next two years building out its 4G network. Taulet also confirmed the service will be offered at no extra charge for customers currently using Yoigo's existing 3G network.

Yoigo's parent company TeliaSonera is something of a trailblazer when it comes to 4G. The Swedish mobile operator became the first in the world to offer superfast mobile internet access when it launched 4G services in Sweden and Norway back in 2009.

This move now brings Spain in line with the likes of the UK, France, Germany and the Scandinavian countries offering 4G mobile internet access.

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