O2 has pushed the trialling of its next-generation mobile broadband further by bringing it to London.
O2 began trialling its 4G LTE network (or 3.9G as some people call it) in Slough at the end of 2009, and as with that scheme, participants in London will be given Samsung mobile broadband dongles to use with their notebooks or tablets (as 4G smartphones aren’t yet available in the UK, of course).
The service offers theoretical speeds of up to 100Mbps, comparable to the fastest fixed broadband connections currently rolling out across the UK, using the 2.6GHz band of spectrum.
However, real world speeds will generally drop much further away from headline speeds than fixed broadband, as is the case with 3G.
The trial will last for eight months (until June 2012) and will enlist around a thousand different consumers and businesses (including John Lewis) for testing purposes.
In total, some twenty-five 4G sites will go live across the capital from today, covering something in the order of 40 square kilometres from Hyde Park to The O2 in Greenwich.
O2 says it has designed the trial network to cover key areas of London including Canary Wharf, Soho, Westminster, South Bank and Kings Cross.
Ronan Dunne, Chief Executive Officer of Telefónica UK, commented: “Our work in London will give us a better understanding of the capabilities of 4G technology and will allow us to explore the superfast benefits it will bring to people and industry across the UK.”
“The forthcoming spectrum auction is a watershed moment for the UK mobile industry, which will see the release of the airwaves capable of powering a whole range of exciting next-generation mobile services. We are actively engaged in the auction and are supportive of a fair process that meets the Government’s and Ofcom’s planned timeline.”
Of course, there are some people complaining on O2 forums that they still can’t get a good 3G signal in some places in London, and perhaps the company should be looking at the quality of its existing network as well as pushing forward with next-gen.