David Haszledine, Network Economics Manager at DT, told Avren Events' HetNet conference that rolling out an LTE network in 1800 MHz spectrum could be a quarter or a fifth as cheap as achieving the same network in 2.6 GHz spectrum.
In Austria, where T-Mobile has an obligation to provide 25% population coverage via LTE at 2.6GHz, the budget submission from the network team was "painful", Haszeldine said. In-building coverage in areas of thick-walled buildings was proving particularly problematic, he said.
Asked by Mobile Europe what the submission might have looked like if T-Mobile Austria had, like its EE cousin in the UK, 1800 MHz spectrum to work in, Haszeldine said, "I have to be careful because I have seen cost comparisons of 800 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2.6 GHz LTE that are so secret there are no electronic copies. But I will say that 1800 is cheaper by factors, perhaps by a quarter or a fifth."
"I think that 1800 will become the de facto LTE standard, not just because of the iPhone 5 but because of the business benefits if offers operators," he said. Of course, network economics also put a premium on the digital dividend 800 MHz spectrum that Ofcom is auctioning, and may drive the price of that spectrum up accordingly.