TeliaSonera has signed a deal for LTE modems from Samsung for its launch in Sweden and Norway in the first half of 2010. The reason behind this single mode LTE only modem is simply because that's what's currently available.
Because the Samsung modem is LTE-only, TeliaSonera customers will need to use a second modem, either built into the computer or a separate USB dongle to access the Internet when they are not in an area covered by LTE, which at first will be limited to major cities. It's too early to say how the hand-off between the two modems will work, according to TeliaSonera. However, the operator expects that users in the inner-city parts of Stockholm and Oslo will be able to move around and surf using just the LTE modem.
TeliaSonera will have enough modems for a commercial launch, but isn't willing to provide exact quantities. It is hoped that the use of an LTE-only modem is a temporary measure. Samsung is working on a modem that will come out next year and support a multitude of mobile broadband technologies. Obtaining a supply of next-generation modems and phones continues to be the biggest challenge when it comes to rolling out new mobile technologies and is the main reason that operator are cautious of deploying LTE early. AT&T, NTT Docomo and Telefónica are just a few operators to have voiced concerns about vendors' ability to have modems ready by the end of next year.
TeliaSonera said its LTE launch will happen during first half of 2010, but wouldn't provide a more exact timeframe.