MOBILE OPERATOR O2 will kick off a 4G network trial in London this month.
The trial will run for the next nine months and covers 25 4G sites spanning a combined area of 40 square kilometres from Hyde Park to Greenwich including Canary Wharf, Soho, Westminster, South Bank and Kings Cross.
It will support speeds of up to 100Mbits/s, and over 1,000 individuals are expected to take part.
O2 said the technology will unlock services including high speed corporate LAN access, high-definition film and music streaming, mobile online gaming and high-speed access to social networks. The mobile operator said that the time to download a 500MB file could be under one minute, compared to over five minutes on 3G.
O2 CEO Ronon Dunne said, "The work we are doing now will lay the foundations for our commercial 4G network when it launches in the UK."
O2 will provide those taking part in the trial with Samsung B3730 mobile broadband dongles supporting speeds of up to 100Mbits/s, and well as 4G personal wireless hotspots and handsets from a number of other vendors. John Lewis and the O2 venue are among those involved in the trial.
Real-time network performance data and feedback from customers will be collected throughout the trial. The results will be used towards O2's plans for the commercial implementation of its forthcoming 4G network following Ofcom's 4G spectrum auction, which is expected to take place in 2012.
The O2 4G trial will use the 2.6GHz spectrum band under a 'Test and Development' licence granted to O2 by Ofcom, and is an extension of O2's 4G trials in Slough that have been running since 2009. µ