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Lightning fast connections for all

New, super-fast 4g mobile services may soon be available nationwide in Finland. Backers say the new technology will open the door to yet another revolution in how we communicate.

Käsi ohjaa tietokoneen hiirtä.
Image: Tiina Jutila / Yle

A government decision Thursday to auction the 800 megahertz frequency band for 4g mobile services could well mean that by 2015, the whole of the country, including the most sparsely populated regions of Lapland will have access to super-fast internet connections. On average, services are expected to offer 20 to 30 megabits per second - at best, up to 50.

"A giant leap is being taken in creating the next generation in internet connections. With this, no one will have to worry about speed. This is so fast that it HD television will come through, there will be applications coming that we haven't even dreamed of yet," says Finnish Communications Minister Krista Kiuru.

Promises of ubiquitous high speed connections have been made before. Experts say that now finally, this wireless technology may fulfill those promises. The 800 megahertz band is highly efficient for data transfer and fewer repeater stations will be needed.

"This is about wireless technology. It does not require rolling out cable everywhere, rather a single repeater station can cover a wide area," notes Reijo Svento, Managing Director of the Finnish Federation for Communications and Teleinformatics, FiCom.

Operators have already rolled out some 4g networks, mainly in larger cities. However, these operate in a higher frequency band than the 800 megahertz slice of the spectrum that is coming up for auction.

The autumn auction will be a step towards making 4g connections available to 95% of the population within three years.

According to Communications Minister Kiuru, 4g spectrum will be sold to at least two mobile phone operators. Among current players, Elisa has expressed interest. Foreign companies are not expected to be interested in entering the 4g market here because of the low population density.

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