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Option releases quad-band LTE modem for Europe

The modem works on frequencies used in Europe and the Middle East, and can use an external antenna to improve coverage

Option has introduced a quad-band LTE USB modem called the Beemo that can fall back on 3G networks at 42Mbps, the company said on Wednesday.

Today, a dozen or so spectrum bands are used to roll out commercial LTE services. For its latest modem, Option has decided to implement the 800MHz,1800MHz and 2600MHz bands commonly used in Europe. However, for the fourth band it chose 900MHz rather than the 700MHz most commonly used for LTE in the U.S.

"The intent for the device was to support as many network configurations as possible," said Jerome Nadel, chief experience officer at Option.

The 800MHz, 1800MHz and 2600MHz bands will be used across Europe, as well as in different combinations in the Asia Pacific region, according to market research company Informa Telecoms & Media.

The 1800MHz band, which currently is used by GSM networks, has been getting more attention from operators. For example, U.K. operator Everything Everywhere -- a joint venture owned by Deutsche Telekom and France Télécom -- is hoping to side-step delayed spectrum auctions by using the band to launch LTE during the fourth quarter. But competing operators are doing their best to stop that effort.

Products that support 900MHz are less common, and the band will not be used to the same extent. However, operators in the Middle East are rolling out LTE using it in combination with the 1800MHz band, according to Informa. The 900MHz band will also be used in Sweden, it said.

When outside of LTE coverage, the modem can fall back on 3G at up to 42Mbps using DC-HSPA+.

When designing the Beemo modem Option spent a lot of energy on the antenna design and keeping the device cool, according to Nadel.

The modem also comes with an external antenna connector that enables users to improve the signal in areas with low signal strength. An external antenna can either be sold as an accessory or included in the package.

Option is ready to ship Beemo, and the first operator customers will be announced in the coming weeks, Nadel said.

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