PTS’s decision: Continued 3G roll-out without adverse effects for the consumer

24/10/2005

PTS has today decided that the 3G operators Hi3G (3), Tele 2/Telia and Vodafone shall continue to roll-out 3G in Sweden without adverse effects for the consumer and with the same quality for everyone.

In order to achieve this, the 3G operators must continue to use the same technology as previously, UMTS. Two of the operators have applied to use the alternative technology CDMA 450 for the remaining part of the roll-out.

PTS considers that it is currently not possible to cross UMTS with other technologies without this having adverse effects for the consumer. If these technologies are crossed, this would mean that the networks could not communicate completely with each other. Consumers using the different networks would consequently have restricted opportunities of using advanced mobile services, for instance video calls. Video calls are used within the medical care services, for instance.

Another advantage with UMTS is that the consumer can have one telephone, which can be used both in the 3G networks and the GSM networks. Telephones are currently not available that are capable of functioning with networks where UMTS and CDMA 450 are crossed, which means that the consumer would need two telephones.

However, the 3G operators have the opportunity of rolling-out the 3G networks more cost efficiently as a result of PTS reducing the requirement regarding signals from the base stations in certain areas where this can be done without having any adverse effects for the consumer. This relaxation means that the operators can reduce the number of base stations for the remaining roll-out by up to 25 per cent and thereby make savings.

PTS considers it be important that operators make use of opportunities for mast sharing as the co-use of masts is positive from both the financial perspective and considering cultural and natural values. PTS has on several occasions proposed that a review is conducted of the provision on mast sharing contained in the Electronic Communications Act as the operators have only utilised opportunities for mast sharing on a very small scale and because PTS has limited powers to compel them to do so. On the initiative of the Government an investigation is currently in progress regarding this matter.

As the operators have not satisfied the population coverage of 8 860 000 people that they promised to achieve as of 31 December 2003, PTS expects that it will during the spring of 2006 order them, subject to a fine for default, to complete the roll-out of the 3G networks. The reason for the postponement of such an order until the spring results from the licence conditions needing to be adjusted owing to the reduction of the signal strength in the networks.

For further information:
Marianne Treschow, Director-General, tel. 0708-11 40 00.

PTS is working to ensure that everyone in Sweden should have access to efficient, fairly priced and secure communications services.