On Thursday, November 15, 2018, exactly five years have passed since the beginning of the first 4G commercial network in Slovakia. Throughout the period, it was possible to significantly improve all parameters of the network, to reach where the mobile Internet has not yet reached several miles in Slovakia.
2013: 4G Network Unexpectedly Starts in Five Cities
Slovak Telekom launched a 4G network initially in five Slovak cities (Nitra, Trnava, Žilina, Banská Bystrica, Prešov). It was originally at 73/23 Mbps and, in particular, data routing was already a significant breakthrough in this release. Sending photos, sharing videos and files was 10 to 20 times faster. At the end of the year coverage increased to 31 seats and 23.7% of the population.
2014: 4G network for more than half of the population and new speeds
Following the success of 4G broadband, Telekom arrives in Bratislava in April 2014 with the 4G network in Bratislava, where it has new maximum speeds: 150 Mbps for download and 50 Mbps. These can be achieved thanks to a better band, but at the same time require even heavier housing coverage. Several weeks later Košice and Trencin followed.
By the end of 2014, more than half of Slovakia was covered: 52 percent. In addition to 84 towns and many villages, tourist areas like Štrbské Pleso also grew.
2015: 4G + enters and a new speed limit of 225 and 300 Mbps
By 2015, coverage has advanced, crossing the border 75 percent. The 4G network was available for 134 cities and hundreds of other villages by the end of the year, including new ski resorts such as Chopok, Jasna, Donovaly, Malino Brdo and Velka Rača.
This year, Telekom has come up with new technological innovations. In June, LTE-CA (4G +) expanded to 225 Mbps in Nitra and outperformed in November LTE-CA to 300 Mbps in Bratislava.
At the same time, Telekom received two P3 Best In Test certificates, thanks to the highest test score of the Slovak operator network.
2016: 375 Mbps on the 4G network and all cities covered
Telecom surpassed the new milestones – covering 140 vacancies at the end of March 2016, with total coverage rising to 87.2% by the end of the year. The 4G + network is also present in other cities such as Košice, Trenčín, Senec and Marianka.
Speed racing did not occur – in December, the 4G + network was launched with speed up to 375 Mbps in various parts of Bratislava.
Two other Best Test certificates are witnessed as quality, where Telekom was able to ignore the scores of other operators with the report.
2017: 4G network calls and a strong test result
Also in 2017, coverage of the 4G network has expanded in two directions – 89% of the population has already reached the base, and 4G + has reached, for example, Pezinka, Poprad, Zvolen, Piešťany or Nový Zámkov.
A great innovation is the start of the service VoLTE (voice over LTE). Thanks to this, customers do not need to switch from 4G to 3G / 2G networks to make a call, get superior quality and make a fast connection.
In the fall, Telekom won the best of all F3 tests, with the highest score.
2018: 4G accelerates again – up to 877 Mbps
In 2018, Telekom used its technological know-how for a news trio that brought customers higher speeds. Thanks to the so-called "64QAM modulation has increased capacity by up to 50% when sending data, the new maximum upload is 75 Mbps.
256QAM modulation has once again accelerated the ability to download data, the download has increased by about a third and the current maximum has gone from 375 to 500 Mbps.
Finally, Telekom has joined a combination of multiple bands and spectra, added MIMO 4×4 solutions and has already reached a new peak in Bratislava: 877 Mbps.
Real tests and solutions
Telekom conducted several tests on the 4G network during the years 2014 to 2016, which they later used in real commercial deployment. Approximately one to two years run between the pilot and real-world traffic, as new speeds of 300, 375 and 877 Mbps are gradually introduced.
How is the 4 year operation increasing?
The 4G network has a significant impact on overall data traffic. 3G network customers have started dating, but the network up to 4G is proving a significant growth and a significant contribution. For comparison, in the year 2014, customers delivered 7 PB data, while in 2018 Telekom expects up to three times the volume.
The participation of the 4G network is gradually increasing in total traffic. By the end of 2014, it was close to 10%, one year later it reached 30%, at the end of 2016 it surpassed 60% and is in addition to 80% of total data traffic.
VoLTE as a modern technology
Start VoLTE, for example, calls on the 4G network have been expected for some time and represent a breakthrough in the customer experience. In the 4G network, you can connect the call in 1 to 2 seconds for a higher overall connection quality. More than 50 models with VoLTE support are currently in the Telekom portfolio, including the full range of Apple devices. The number of them will continue to increase, which will help technology become a new standard.