Virgin Media 4G trials hint at new UK network

Well, well, well, what have we here then? Could it be a new mobile phone network gearing up in time for the UK's 4G revolution? Maybe so, as RegHardware has reported that Virgin Media is planning trials of 4G telephony in several UK cities.

The cable giant is reportedly "dropping fibre-connected LTE Small Cells into urban areas, to see how easily decent coverage could be established" and is working with Airspan on base stations that are "ideal for dropping into lamp posts or bolting on to walls".

It isn't clear if Virgin Media wants to take on the likes of Vodafone, O2 and Three though - it already has a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) deal with Everything Everywhere - or whether it is simply testing the tech so it is aware of how profitable buying up some of the spectrum before leasing capacity to the existing networks.

It may also be exploring a roaming deal for its MVNO customers and / or Orange and T-Mobile users through Everything Everywhere. The company wouldn't confirm if it was to bid for any of the 2.6GHz band in which the trials will operate.

Everything Everywhere recently announced plans to begin the roll-out of its 4G service before the end of the year. This followed the news that Ofcom had revised its plans for dealing with the 4G spectrum, announcing that it aims to bring coverage to at least 98 per cent of the population.



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