LTE in Sweden – Bye Bye GSM (Almost)

I’ve been in Sweden for a couple of days recently, around 30 km outside of Göteborg in a pretty rural area. Obviously I did not only enjoy the beautiful landscape but also had a closer look at what is on air in this region. I was quite surprised about what I found as GSM is definitely on the way out here.

After arriving in the country I left it up my mobile to decide which network to select. It opted for Telenor Sweden so I started my investigation there. And here is what they not only advertise in SIB-5 but what is actually on air:

  • 10 MHz in Band 20 (800 MHz)
  • 10 MHz in Band 8 (900 MHz)
  • 15 MHz in Band 3 (1800 MHz)
  • 20 MHz in Band 7 (2600 MHz)

No, this is not in a busy city, this is what is on air in a rural area! Apart from the sheer capacity another interesting thing is that they have deployed a 10 MHz carrier in the 900 MHz LTE band 8. That is the GSM band and according to Spectrum Monitoring and Wikipedia, which says that Telenor is operating a combined LTE network together with Tele2, they ‘only’ have 15 MHz of spectrum in that band. When looking at the MIB on can indeed see that MCC 240 and MNCs 07 and 08 are broadcast, i.e. it’s really the combined network of Telenor and Tele2. This means that only 5 MHz are left for GSM in the band which seems to be enough for voice telephony and whatever else GSM is still needed for. Quite interesting, the first place I have seen where GSM of a network operator was that much reduced. Note that they don’t advertise GSM in the 1800 MHz band, so the 5 MHz is really all they have on air at this time.

Let’s see if things are different in bigger cities, I would expect them to be. But let’s see.