A couple of days ago a reader left a comment to a previous post on LTE 900 MHz in the Netherlands that an LTE network now also went live in the 450 MHz range in Finland. Thanks for that! I was intrigued so I had a closer look. The network seems to address mostly businesses and moving vehicles at first and private summer house owners in Finland a bit later.
What's The Deal For Today's Users?
I tried to find out which band is used for that network but couldn't find a definite source. So I assume it's FDD band 31. If that is indeed the case then it's at 5 MHz carrier at most (for which I don't have a confirmation either so it's a guess, too), compared to 10 MHz used in the 800 MHz band and 15 to 20 MHz carriers used in band 3. In other words capacity and top speeds are quite limited. So from that point of view nothing to write home about. On the other hand a 5 MHz LTE carrier in a summer house far off the beaten path is better than nothing at all, at least today. With rising bandwidth demands, however, a 5 MHz carrier won't cut it for long even in far away places…
The historical perspective
Oh yes, why only 5 MHz? It looks like this is a spot left over from old analog networks (e.g. the C-Netz in Germany, which used 451,30–455,74 MHz and 461,30–465,74 MHz according to Wikipedia. This range is not fully overlapping with LTE FDD band 31 but that's not very surprising because in the 1980's, there was no common European, let alone, worldwide standard. But from a historical perspective the 5 MHz bandwidth is interestig because I always imagined that more bandwidth was used for these networks. And then GSM comes along for which 25 MHz of bandwidth was reserved for each direction, i.e. 5 times as much as for the networks that were in use at that time. Quite a bold move for the time I would say.