O2 recently commenced a 4G wireless trial in London. The trial is being undertaken with a LTE ( Long Term Evolution ) wireless network which is not officially recognised as a "true" 4G compliant standard yet O2 like many other operators are claiming it is. The trial is due to last six months ending in June 2012.
The trial is the first of its type in the UK and sees 25 4G sites going live across London from Hyde Park to the O2 Arena. O2 has equipped hundreds of its customers with 4G compatible equipment and devices. The areas of the trial cover Canary Wharf, Soho, Westminster, South Bank and Kings Cross.
The O2 4G wireless trial uses a Test and Development licence from Ofcom in the 2.6GHz spectrum band. This band provides 4G speeds of up to 150 Megabytes and supports the 20MHz RF bandwidth for LTE.
Customers taking part in the trial should be able to download a 500 Megabyte file in one minute as opposed to more than 5 minutes over a 3G wireless network.
People taking part in the trial will be using a Samsung B3730 mobile broadband dongle which can handle download speeds of 100 megabytes. Also included are a number of 4G personal wireless hotspots and a number of 4G compatible handsets.
The O2 Arena will be kitted out with 4G wireless coverage. There will be a number of business partners supporting the trial and these include John Lewis, The Institution of Engineering and Technology and Enterprise Nation.
The experiences of the trialists and the performance of the 4G wireless network will be evaluated at the end of the trial, Ofcom have scheduled the 4G wireless spectrum auction to take place later in 2012.
One of the main network equipment suppliers for the O2 4G trial is Nokia. The company will supply its 2600MHz LTE radio equipment, Evolved Packet Core technology, Home Subscriber Server and FlexiPacket Microwave Radio nodes. The company will also provide comprehensive managed services.