A 4G LTE trial in the UK you say? Great news – but unfortunately the trial by BT and Everything Everywhere is looking at the possibility of using the LTE network as an alternative to fixed-line broadband rather than an all-out next-gen mobile broadband network.
BT Wholesale and Everything Everywhere announced last May that it would be beginning the trial last month, but it has only now begun with 200 people in and around South Newquay testing the system.
The customer trial, which is supposedly the world’s first test of an LTE solution which can be deployed to both mobile and fixed line customers, follows an eight week laboratory trial which tested the network deployment in simulated conditions.
“The field trial will now examine the experience of live triallists to help both Everything Everywhere and BT Wholesale test and better understand realistic 4G LTE speeds, as well as general mobile broadband data service conditions in rural areas,” a joint statement said.
The 200 triallists will be split evenly between mobile and fixed-line users living in a 25 square kilometre area in Cornwall and uses 10MHz of the test 800MHz spectrum (normally used for analogue TV signals).
The trial is set to run until early 2012 and during that time there will be regular focus groups to get some feedback from those using the LTE network.
Ofcom is planning on auctioning the 4G spectrum early next year but last month we reported on research which suggested that re-farming current 3G spectrum would be a more cost effective way of expediting a 4G network in the UK.
With UK mobile users unlikely to have a chance to try out a working 4G network until 2013 at the earliest, this trial at least shows that some movement is being made in the right direction, unfortunately that movement is just moving at a snail's pace.