Network provider UK Broadband has partnered with Huawei to switch on its first 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) system in the London Borough of Southwark.
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The move is the first commercial deployment of LTE in the UK. UK Broadband said it was using Huawei’s Time Division Long Term Evolution (TD-LTE) basestations to build its network.
UKB will work with partners to offer commercial services from May 2012 to businesses, consumers and the public sector. The network will initially cover the South Bank and Borough areas of Southwark.
However, it is unlikely residents will see the immediate benefits of high-speed networks, as 4G-enabled handsets are yet to be deployed in the UK.
“We’re very excited to be switching on our first TD-LTE system in the UK using our 4G spectrum,” said Nicholas James, UKB’s CEO. “We’re working with Huawei because we believe they have the expertise and experience we need to deliver the best solution.”
Rob Bamforth, analyst at Quocirca, said the roll-out represents a milestone in potential top bandwidth. However, Bamforth said 3G and 2G will remain important for a long time, with 2G better placed for machine-to-machine communications.
“We will see more announcements ahead of the 4G spectrum auction this year, as companies put place holders down. The wireless market in the UK is relatively complicated, with other players and users beyond the mainstream mobile phone companies,” he said.
UK Broadband’s system will include indoor and outdoor units for high-speed wireless broadband to homes and businesses in the coverage area. Multi-mode mobile devices supporting TD-LTE, FD-LTE and 3G will be available from September 2012.