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O2 brings 4G trial to London

Starting later this month at 25 sites across the capital, which will cover an area of 40 square kilometers from Hyde Park to the O2 in Greenwich, encompassing Canary Wharf, Soho, Kings Cross and the South Bank.

The O2 will have its own internal and external 4G sites to cover the area, visitors will be able to take advantage of live music and film streaming sessions at the O2 Store and O2 Lounge.

Ronan Dunne, Chief Executive Officer of Telefónica UK (O2), said: “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.”

1000 participants will be taking part in the trial, using a O2-supplied Samsung B3730 hub which will run for nine months. O2 says the experience will be comparable to the fastest landline broadband. Speeds of 100Mbps will be possible, downloading a 500MB file in less than a minute – 5x faster than 3G.

Previously a trial took place in 2009 at O2’s headquarters in Slough. This new London-based trial uses the 2.6Ghz spectrum under a ‘Test and Development’ licence.

4G (or LTE long-term evolution) is already live in the US, but has yet to come to the UK due to technical constraints and issues between the networks about market share. Just last month the first 4G live trials took place in Cornwall near St Newlyn East and South Newquay, with Everything and Everywhere and BT Wholesale. The auction for the 4G spectrum is due to take place at the beginning of 2012.

The trial is live now until June 2012.

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