4G high-speed mobile trials begin in London

While American network operators proudly roll out their high-speed 4G mobile networks across the United States, there are many other nations where 4G has yet to arrive. The UK is one such example; while elsewhere in Europe, such as Germany and Scandinavia, operators already sell 4G services to customers, Britain has yet to even award spectrum licenses to carriers.

Despite this, operators are forging ahead with testing the new technologies on their networks, and today sees the launch of a new 4G LTE trial in London by O2, the UK’s second largest operator with over 22 million subscribers, and part of Spanish telecoms giant Telefónica.

This isn’t the first 4G trial in the UK – O2 has been carrying out testing in Slough, west of London, since 2009; a joint trial between BT and Everything Everywhere, owner of Orange UK and T-Mobile UK, began this year around the village of St Newlyn East in Cornwall, but with just 200 people on that trial, its scale is quite limited.

O2’s London trial is on a much larger scale, and will run through to June 2012. At its peak, there’ll be 25 4G sites active across the capital, covering 40 square kilometres in total. Two distinct trial zones will encompass many of London’s most prominent locations, including Hyde Park, Westminster, Soho and areas north to Kings Cross; and around The O2 arena (shown at the top of this article), parts of London's Docklands, and the Canary Wharf business district in the east.

The trial won’t include mobile phones though; rather, Samsung B3730 dongles will be supplied to testers, supporting 4G speeds of up to 100Mbps, although users are expected to receive average speeds of 25-50Mbps in practice. When the network is deployed nationally, average speeds are likely to drop further, but will still dramatically exceed the kind of speeds users routinely see on 3G networks which, in the UK, averages around 1.5Mbps.

The trial will be carried out on the 2.6GHz spectrum band under a temporary license. The UK auction of spectrum allocation to the network operators should have taken place this year, but has been delayed until mid-2012; spectrum can also not be allocated until analog television signals are switched off next year.

Even once the auction is complete, operators will still have a considerable amount of work to do to build and test their 4G networks before they’re ready to sell products to customers – as a result, the first commercial 4G services aren’t expected to launch in the UK until the first half of 2013 at the earliest.

Don’t get too excited about the prospect of joining the O2 London trial either – access is by invitation only for around a thousand users in total, including premier O2 customers and selected small businesses. Staff at John Lewis department stores will also be involved in the trial to see how faster mobile broadband can be used to help businesses.

UK consumers can get a sneak-peek of the technology in action at the O2 Arena in London’s Docklands, where the company will be offering demos of the trial in action at its store and O2 Lounge.

 

Image sources: O2 News Centre, HDwallpapers

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19 Comments

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Can these companies look at providing 100% normal coverage for calls and texts before they start playing with 4G or whatever it's called this week.

dontcallmedaz said,
Can these companies look at providing 100% normal coverage for calls and texts before they start playing with 4G or whatever it's called this week.

Really, it's that bad over there? In NYC, coverage is excellent with Verizon Wireless. And 4G LTE everywhere in the city too (including indoors).

M2Ys4U said,
LTE is *not* 4G, it's still 3G technology.

Carriers have always made the "G" distinctions useless...

They did the same calling EDGE 3G (when it was in fact 2.5G).

M2Ys4U said,
LTE is *not* 4G, it's still 3G technology.

we get it, move on. You people saying this same damn thing every time isnt going to change anything. You are not more informed then other, so please stop trying to tell us this. We have all moved on and accepted the marketing and moved on.

M2Ys4U said,
LTE is *not* 4G, it's still 3G technology.

You are totally wrong. HSPA+ is not 4G (its a 3G technology), but LTE is indeed pure 4G.

raghavny80 said,

You are totally wrong. HSPA+ is not 4G (its a 3G technology), but LTE is indeed pure 4G.

And you are also wrong. HSPA+ is 4G. It is a 3G technology but the ITU has clearly defined all evolved 3G technology that offer a substantial increase in speed as 4G.

Don't get me wrong, I would love to agree with your statement because it really is a third generation product. But we have to go at what the governing body says.

UndergroundWire said,

And you are also wrong. HSPA+ is 4G. It is a 3G technology but the ITU has clearly defined all evolved 3G technology that offer a substantial increase in speed as 4G.

Don't get me wrong, I would love to agree with your statement because it really is a third generation product. But we have to go at what the governing body says.

So wtf's with this article mentioning that ITU class LTE as 3.9G then? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-15717913

Under 'acceleration', 4th paragraph.

UndergroundWire said,
I showed you where the ITU says that LTE is 4G, WHERE DOES THE ITU SAY THAT? Show me the SOURCE. I did. Why can't you?
I'm not a native English speaker, but I interpret it as LTE (3GPP Release 8) may be considered 4G (due to everyone being idiots*) and LTE Advanced (IMT Advanced/3GPP Release 10) will be 'true' 4G.

* "When the world's mobile carriers decided to ignore the ITU's definition of 4G, it really put the organization in a bind," PCMag's lead mobile analyst Sascha Segan said. "To remain relevant, the ITU had to find some way to fall in line with the language that much of the global cell phone industry is insisting on using."

epple said,
I'm not a native English speaker, but I interpret it as LTE (3GPP Release 8) may be considered 4G (due to everyone being idiots*) and LTE Advanced (IMT Advanced/3GPP Release 10) will be 'true' 4G.

* "When the world's mobile carriers decided to ignore the ITU's definition of 4G, it really put the organization in a bind," PCMag's lead mobile analyst Sascha Segan said. "To remain relevant, the ITU had to find some way to fall in line with the language that much of the global cell phone industry is insisting on using."

Exactly. But it's still 4G nonetheless. It doesn't matter how the ITU got there, it's THERE. People keep rehashing such old things. Technically they are wrong because the governing body says they are wrong. That's why I am saying show me where the ITU says it's not 4G.

Furthermore, what is the point of people rehashing it?
- Is 4G LTE better than 3G? ABSOLUTELY!
- Is HSDPA+ better than 3G? ABSOLUTELY!
- Is WiMax better than 3G? ABSOLUTELY!

Are you going to hold out for LTE Advanced device even though you are overdue for an upgrade? To me that is just silly. You buy a new device and your contract is up in two years and the technology will evolve. What's the BIG ISSUE here?

How about this scenario:
How about with marriage. You may see marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The government for years has been saying that too. But one day the government allows gay marriage, are you still going to say that the gay couples are not married?

Even further what I have a problem with is LANGUAGE of this 4G issue. IMO, I would say LTE and WiMax are 4G. They are indeed a 4th Generation technology. HSDPA+ is an upgraded 3G technology offering better speeds. But I can't argue with what a governing body want's to call it. That would be EXTREMELY FOOLISH of me.

Edited by UndergroundWire, Nov 15 2011, 2:55pm :

Hehe, I think my reply was aimed at smooth_criminal1990, but I quoted your reply to his quote instead. Sorry.

I think we all can agree, however, that the 'marketing geniuses' at work pushing non-4G as 4G should take most of the blame here. Evidently even ITU caved in to it in the end (press release).

Anyway, as an end-user in this matter I'm glad tech advances at the quick rate it does and with that I wish the lot of you a nice day.

epple said,
Hehe, I think my reply was aimed at smooth_criminal1990, but I quoted your reply to his quote instead. Sorry.

I think we all can agree, however, that the 'marketing geniuses' at work pushing non-4G as 4G should take most of the blame here. Evidently even ITU caved in to it in the end (press release).

Anyway, as an end-user in this matter I'm glad tech advances at the quick rate it does and with that I wish the lot of you a nice day.

I will not dispute that at all. I 100% agree with that. It is what it is. Thankfully it's better than before. I don't care what label they put on it as long as it is better.