O2 is to start trials of its 4G (LTE) network later this month (November). The initial wave will be in London, with 25 sites covering a combined area of 40 square kilometres, including Canary Wharf, Soho, Westminster, South Bank and Kings Cross.
Over 1,000 people are expected to take part in the trials of the new network, which claims to support super-fast mobile download speeds of up to 100Mbs. At that speed a 500MB file would take less than a minute to download, while the equivalent would take more than 5 minutes on 3G.
Of course, the US has had 4G for a while now, but now UK consumers can check out the benefits of the service. For example, as part of the trial, The O2 arena in the docklands area of London will play host to 4G video streaming demonstrations at the O2 Lounge and O2 Store. So, once it's started, get yourself down there to check it out.
O2 will be collecting real-time network performance data and anecdotal feedback from customers for the duration of the trial, and will use the statistics to help shape its plans for a nationwide release in 2012. It will be using the 2.6GHz spectrum band under a Test and Development licence granted to O2 by OFCOM for the trial, and is an extension of the trials being carried out Slough since 2009.
While London-bound at present, Ronan Dunne, CEO of Telefónica UK (O2), states that these trials are the next important step in bringing 4G to the UK permanently: "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," he says.
Are you eager to try out 4G? Will it help with your daily tasks? Let us know in the comments below...