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O2 starts 4G LTE mobile broadband trial in London

Jenny Williams

O2 has started a nine-month trial of its first 4G LTE network in London to bring superfast mobile broadband to consumers and businesses.

Spanning 25 sites across the capital, O2 said the network stretches from Hyde Park to Greenwich and covers areas including Canary Wharf, Westminster and King’s Cross. The company will provide Samsung B3730 mobile broadband dongles to over 1000 people taking part in the trial.

O2 said the mobile broadband network will support speeds of up to 100Mbps, similar speeds to fibre home broadband connections.  

Ronan Dunne, CEO at Telefónica UK (O2), said the time to download a 500MB file could be as fast as under one minute compared to over five minutes over a 3G network.

Some businesses such as John Lewis are also trialling the mobile broadband network. The retailer will be using 4G internally to test its impact on operations. 

Miriam Lahage, vice president at global fashion at eBay, said, “This O2 initiative is an important step to improving UK mobile infrastructure. 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.”

Regulatory body Ofcom is delaying the auction of 4G spectrum to late 2012 to allow for an extended consultation period following some technical and competition issues around the sale

MPs have called for the Treasury to quadruple its investment in superfast broadband to stimulate the UK’s flagging economy, a move which would increase total government spend to £2.1bn.

The government announced in August it will invest £530m to provide 90% of UK homes with superfast broadband by 2015 and for everyone to have access to a minimum of 2Mbps.


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