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.
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.