Telia announces refarm of 3G network in Lithuania

Lithuania, which is at the forefront of the European communications innovation, is gradually approaching another major change in communications technology – Telia Lietuva has started increasing the capacity of the 4G LTE mobile network and its speed by using a part of frequencies that until now have been allocated for 3G technology, which means a gradual sunset of 3G technology and the transition to much more efficient use of frequencies. For Telia Lietuva customers this already means a higher mobile Internet speed.

Voice and data are transmitted by radio waves, which are divided into different frequency bands, and different generation communication technologies are used for that. However, with rapid increase of mobile data usage, transmitting information using the same frequencies is much more efficient when using new communication solutions.

“With the development of smart technologies, we must first of all smartly use the existing resources, thus we took a part of frequencies from the older generation 3G connection and attributed them to 4G frequency band, which allowed increasing LTE connection capacity in base stations by almost 50% and the data download speed on Telia Lietuva LTE ++ network by an additional 70 Mbps”, says Andrius Šemeškevičius, Head of Technology at Telia Lietuva. He reminded that the highest speed achieved in the real Telia Lietuva network was captured at the beginning of 2016 and it was 750 Mbps.

This expansion of the mobile network at the expense of 3G frequencies was first of all successfully tested in Alytus. And starting from July, residents of densely populated areas of the capital city and people living in Elektrėnai, Kaišiadorys, Šalčininkai and other surrounding towns will start enjoying much faster Telia Lietuva network. Changes in the Telia network covering the entire Lithuania will be completed by the end of the summer.

According to A. Šemeškevičius, the data flow transmitted using 3G technology has been steady for several years in a row, and the trend for the future is decreasing. In theory, 3G technology frequency bands could now be used for much faster 4G connection, which would significantly increase the network speed. But there still are a lot of devices used and sold in Lithuania that do not support 3G and 4G connection technologies.

“There are many discussions held in Europe and around the world about which technology – 2G or 3G – will retire first? However, the prevalence of old equipment, frequencies available to operators, data usage and the need for capacity in each country are very different. 3G technology is most likely to be the first communication technology in Lithuania, the frequency spectrum of which will be transferred to the existing 4G and the upcoming 5G technology. As this is a very complicated work requiring lots of preparation, this in any case will happen no earlier than by 2020”, said A. Šemeškevičius.

In the beginning of June, Telia Lietuva announced that the smart TV (IPTV) service will also be provided via the fastest Telia Lietuva mobile 4G LTE network throughout the country. This technology will replace the old terrestrial digital television (DVB-T), re-broadcasting of which will be stopped in stages starting from August.