O2 Rolls Out Superfast 4G Mobile Network Test Across London
O2 will today switch on the first high speed Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G mobile broadband network in the capital.
The trial will give 1000 Londoners the chance to use the fastest mobile broadband they've ever seen, capable of powering 20 high definition internet televisions from a table in Starbucks.
Rob Joyce, head of the LTE 4G trial for O2 said "Around a thousand people with the dongles or the personal Wi-Fi hotpots will be able to create mobile broadband hotspots that will stream the web at an incredible 100 megabits a second. That means powering around 20 high definition internet TVs, and playing livestreamed high definition games on OnLive without interruption.
We want people with these dongles to use them for streaming films, playing games and downloading data to test the 4G spectrum to the edge of its performance. "
4G hubs across London testing the service will include John Lewis, The Institution of Engineering and Technology at Savoy Place, and The O2 arena.
The 1000 people taking part in the trial O2 will be given Samsung B3730 mobile broadband dongles, 4G personal wireless hotspots and various handsets.
London is behind some surprising parts of the world in rolling out the speedy 4G system. Russia, South Korea and Nepal are ready to roll out 4G according to Simplify Digital.
The 4G network will eventually be able to provide ultra high-speed mobile Wi-Fi that would make downloading a 500MB file as fast as under one minute, compared to over 5 minutes on 3G.
For 4G to be practical, all mobile handsets will need updating, says Joyce: "Currently the Nexus 4G phone in the U.S. is the only one ready for 4G on its own. To use 4G at the moment, you still need the dongle or the personal hotspot. So during the trial, handsets will connect to 4G using the dongle only."
The O2 4G trial will use the same band currently being used by analogue television - the 2.6GHz spectrum band. The 2.6GHz band supports the maximum 20MHz RF bandwidth for LTE, which allows 4G speeds of up to 150Mbps.
The trial will run for nine months until June 2012, when the band must be handed over the the London Olympics Games for use by the TV broadcast system.
O2 has been conducting 4G trials in Slough since 2009, while BT and carrier Everything Everywhere are currently conducting a 4G trial in Cornwall .
4G cannot be rolled out to all mobile users until the Ofcom auction for the 4G spectrum takes place in 2012.
Miriam Lahage, Vice President of Global Fashion at eBay, said: “It is very encouraging to see O2 commit to trialling 4G high-speed mobile internet in London. As we set out in our Mobile Manifesto, accelerating 4G rollout is critical to the success of the UK mobile economy as over 45% of consumers are currently dissatisfied with the speed at which they can complete everyday functions like browsing and shopping on their smartphones.
“This O2 initiative is an important step to improving UK mobile infrastructure, and will give consumers in London a taste of what is to come after the 4G rollout. Ofcom should proceed with the auction of the 4G spectrum as quickly as possible so consumers and the industry can benefit from the next generation of mobile broadband.”
To be part of the trial, check the o2 website for a chance to win a 4G dongle or Mi-Fi.