Mobile network O2 has started testing a next-generation mobile data service in London. The nine month trial will involve hundreds of consumers and businesses using a Long Term Evolution (LTE) network across parts of the city. O2 says its LTE downloads will be many times faster than those over 3G.
The news comes a fortnight after MPs urged O2 and other operators to stop fighting over how 4G airwaves should be shared out.
The experiment is an extension of O2’s LTE trials in Slough, west of the capital, which began in 2009. Participants will be given broadband dongles for their computers allowing them access to the 2.6GHz spectrum.
Members of the trial are being promised download speeds of up to 50 megabits per second (Mbps), although O2 says the network can theoretically transfer data three times faster.
Once the network is rolled out across the UK the firm says speeds are more likely to average 10-15Mbps. By comparison telecoms watchdog Ofcom said in May that the UK’s average 3G download speed was 1.5Mbps.