'LTE' is going to be one of the buzz words of 2010 (probably flanked by 'Cloud' and 'Smartbook'), so could this be the first sign our mobile broadband woes may be at an end?
Making a determined step to right many of its 2009 wrongs O2 revealed it has begun tests of HSDPA's successor in the UK. Following on from Europe tests, the lucky people of Slough will become the first Brits to benefit with a control group given LTE dongles made by Huawei to use with their laptops and desktops.
"We are pleased to collaborate with Huawei on this LTE trial, which will allow us to better understand this emerging technology and prepare us in offering our customers next generation mobile broadband services in the future," said O2 UK CTO Derek McManus.
The trialists will be able to tap into a service which provides speeds up to a theoretical maximum of 150Mbit per second. This is compared to a peak of 7.2Mbit in the UK for HSDPA and while both figures are misleading (they represent total shared bandwidth, not real world speed), the leap is there for all to see. Note that due to power consumption in first generation hardware, PC dongles will be the first port of call for LTE with handsets not expected to get in on the act before 2011/12. That said, pulling laptop data usage off existing HSDPA networks should significantly improve their performance for handsets.
Wider availability? '2010' is all we keep hearing. So until then my UMTS Forum interview will kill some time and provides a thorough backgrounder on LTE. Oh and for the record, LTE is not '4G' (as it is often incorrectly referenced) but 3.9G - the last iteration of 3G. So there!