O2 4G Trial Hits London

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O2 London 4G Trial:

The nine month long trial is starting this week and will run up until the summer of 2012 when the Olympics will be in town. The areas covered will be the most densely populated parts of the capital and will include: Canary Wharf, Soho, Westminster, South Bank and Kings Cross. This will take in 25 base stations and will put O2 firmly on the map as pioneers for the UK in terms of a 4G LTE network.

O2 UK chief Ronan Dunne said in a statement.

O2 London Trial 4G
O2 London Trial 4G

“Today’s launch of the UK’s first 4G London trial network demonstrates our commitment to delivering 4G to our customers at the earliest opportunity, the work we are doing now will lay the foundations for our commercial 4G network when it launches in the UK.”

But is this really 4G or a “just passed version”?

LTE was not considered part of the 4G criteria until December last year when the ITU said that LTE and WiMax and “other evolved 3G technologies providing a substantial level of improvement in performance and capabilities with respect to the initial third-generation systems now deployed”.

Basically they were saying that until 4G proper comes along you can now market this technology as 4G, even though it is more closely related to improved 3G.

LTE 4G a bit of a con?

Unlike LTE advanced which will offer around 100mbps and should be able to work “in motion” the o2 trial of LTE in London starting this week will only offer half those speeds and will still struggle “in motion”….this basically means that using the connection while walking or travelling in your car will be problematic in the main.

Those who are involved in the trail will be using mobile dongles from Samsung: model: B3730 which are supposed to support speeds up to a huge 100 Mbps. Portable hotspots and headsets will also be trialled, they will utilise the 2.6Ghz spectrum which is said to be capable of delivering speed of up to 150 Mbps.

Mobile Vidoecalls and HDTV to the masses?

With the pressure on data rates being pushed all the time, there are current limitations that occur for the average user when they are out and about. One of the main power hungry platforms is video. The move to improve the amount of data that can be transferred on a mobile connection will be welcome news to TV lovers and networks.

4 year delay caused by disagreements between networks including o2:

4G was suppose to be available in the UK in 2008, yes 4/5 years ago, and it still looks like the spectrum will not be put on the wholesale market for another year or more after these tests and other issues between mobile networks are resolved.

Who is involved in the trial?

The O2 trial will use technology from Nokia Siemens and also Cambridge Broadband Networks and NEC, with other smaller “trials” already taking place in the UK in Cornwall and Slough earlier this year it is not until the London trials really bring in some hard data that companies can finally see how the technology has worked on a mass scale in a dense urban environment where its ability to pass through buildings due to the particularly high bandwidth offered at this frequency will be of serious interest to businesses and consumers.

The trial will bring in the John Lewis department store, members of the institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) and people visiting the o2 arena in London’s Docklands.

UK behind on 4G and costs business nearly £1 Billion a year

With the UK languishing behind the US, Australia and Germany with the 4g roll out, an Open Digital study has claimed that UK businesses are losing out on more than £730 million a year in productivity due to the slow introduction of 4G to the UK.

Anthony Munns