It has taken more abuse for the quality of its network over the last twelve months than any other UK telco, but could O2 soon set things right?
Parent company Telefonia has announced it has begun trials of LTE (Long Term Evolution), the next (and final) generation of 3G broadband standards. Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Huawei, NEC, Nokia Siemens Network and ZTE will all provide their proposed hardware for the trials which will hopefully take the technology significantly closer to a 2010 mass roll-out.
"At Telefónica we are working with the conviction that we can only offer our clients the maximum levels of quality and innovation," the network said in a formal statement. "To do this, we are defining our strategy and the rollout of LTE with the objective of driving mobile broadband and offering the best service from the moment that the equipment and terminals can support the new standards and are available for sale."
LTE can provide bandwidth of up to 140Mbit in its first iteration with 340Mbit targeted by 2011. Of course this is shared with all users over each telco cell, but it is significantly more headroom than the 7.2Mbit maximum pipe provided by HSDPA. Real world speeds are expected to provided reliable 2-5Mbit performance.
Smartphones will have to wait as the power draw for LTE devices currently makes it only suitable for dongles powered by laptops, but this should still free up HSDPA bandwidth for handsets as LTE takes off. For everything you could possibly want to know about LTE - also referred to as 'Super 3G' - check out our LTE Guide.
In related news it is back to earth with a bump for O2 since it has apparently run out of all iPhone 3GS stock. Whether this has anything to do with Apple equipping new iPhone partners Orange and Vodafone is no doubt something O2 would deny...