Nordic operator TeliaSonera achieved a key wireless industry milestone on Monday as it became the first wireless operator in the world to launch mobile network services based on fourth-generation (4G) long term evolution (LTE) technology. The debut of Telia’s LTE service brings network speeds to customers that are up to ten times faster than third-generation (3G) services currently offered by Telia. (Next year, Verizon Wireless is expected to become the first U.S. carrier to launch LTE, with AT&T to follow in 2011.) Although LTE handsets and applications designed specifically for the technology are said to be months or even years off, one U.K-based analyst observed that the new LTE network promises a “killer user experience” that is especially well-suited for video and advanced applications that include gaming. Initially, Telia will offer LTE exclusively in Stockholm and Oslo, although the company is working to expand the service to 25 additional cities in Sweden and three cities in Norway by the end of next year. Because no 4G handset is currently available, subscribers will need a 4G modem manufactured by Samsung to access the LTE network. (Also, because the Samsung modem is not compatible with 3G networks, customers will need to acquire a 3G modem as well.) Telia will offer both modems free-of-charge through July 1, and the company expects to market a combined 3G-4G modem during the second quarter of 2010. TeliaSonera mobile services chief Kenneth Karlberg also indicated that the first 4G mobile handsets capable of operating on his company’s LTE would be sold to customers in 2011.