* Opens data service in Oslo and Stockholm
* One Samsung Electronics data card on offer
* To pick vendors for cross-Nordic network in early 2010
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STOCKHOLM/HELSINKI, Dec 14 - The world's first commercial mobile network using upcoming LTE technology opened on Monday in the capitals of Norway and Sweden, ahead of schedule.
Telecom operators are expected to spend billions of euros on the next generation LTE (Long Term Evolution) networks as data traffic in their current networks has exploded due to the surge in take-up of mobile data cards.
Nordic telecoms operator TeliaSonera (TLSN.ST) launched commercial service in Oslo and Stockholm using Samsung Electronics' (005930.KS) data cards for the launch, as there are no LTE phones available.
I think it's good for the industry, especially for equipment providers that can start breathing again, said Michele Campriani, chief executive of telecoms software vendor Accanto Systems.
The first major roll-outs are expected only late next year when Verizon is scheduled to open a network in the United States, with wider deployments to follow later.
I don't believe we will see LTE being a serious rollout until 2011, Campriani said.
The new LTE technology, which will enable fast mobile broadband access for services such as watching movies on mobile phones, will be a major battleground for network equipment suppliers.
Ericsson (ERICb.ST), the world's biggest mobile gear firm, is supplying Telia's Stockholm network, but rival Huawei [HWT.UL] was chosen for Oslo.
Ericsson is considered to be the leading player in LTE technology, but Alcatel-Lucent (ALUA.PA), Huawei, Motorola (MOT.N) and Nokia Siemens [NSN.UL] have also won LTE equipment orders.
The network equipment makers, with the exception of Ericsson, have struggled badly in last few years due to aggressive price competition from Chinese vendors.
TeliaSonera said on Monday the rollout of its 4G networks in Sweden and Norway would cost 500 million crowns ($70 million) in 2010.
TeliaSonera said evaluation of suppliers for its common LTE network in the Nordic and Baltic countries is in progress and vendors will be selected at the beginning of 2010. (Editing by Rupert Winchester)