From TV to 4G: O2 unveils 4G London trial results

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The UK-wide digital switch-over reaches completion today, with many areas of the UK already fully digital and London being the final region to undergo the changes. Switching over the UK’s analogue TV signal and replacing it with a digital signal will free up the airwaves to make way for super fast internet access, known as 4G.

O2 has been running the first and largest urban 4G network trail in the UK since December 2011. The trial offers a unique glimpse into the future of superfast mobile broadband and is giving hundreds of consumers, businesses and venue owners exclusive access to 4G before it becomes a reality for the rest of the UK following the spectrum auction in 2013.

The trial has given O2 an invaluable insight into the infrastructure demands of a live 4G network, meaning it will be ready to roll out when the green light is given following the spectrum auction. But what’s even more exciting is what 4G has ‘unlocked’ – the trial has seen speeds of up to 150Mbps, hit click to bang rates of less than one tenth of a second and 40MB files downloaded in a matter of seconds.

What O2’s 4G trial has found:

O2’s 4G network is achieving speeds up to 150Mbps, comparable to the fastest home landline connections.

With around 1,000 people on the trial, speeds of between 20 – 50Mbps have regularly been experienced – over 20 times faster than 3G.

The ‘click to bang rate’ on 4G is so fast (0.07 seconds) that you can really serve up a swift right hook in a boxing game.

For businesses, cloud-based services will be revolutionized, 40MB files can be downloaded on the move in a matter of seconds.

Most active trail members have been using 200GB per month using just a Samsung dongle or personal mifi hotspot.

Importantly, O2’s trial has affirmed the pent-up demand for high speed services. There has been no resistance from consumers, businesses or the Government. Jeremy Hunt himself has said publicly:

“We welcome O2’s 4G trial in London, which is a positive example of how firms are continuing to invest in, and develop, the type of communications services that will keep the UK at the forefront of the digital revolution.”

About O2’s 4G London Trial:

In December 2011 O2 launched the first 4G network in central London, which is the largest 4G trial network in the UK.

The trial includes 25 sites and covers an area of 40sq km, stretching from Hyde Park to Canary Wharf and The O2, including Canary Wharf, Soho, Westminster, South Bank and Kings Cross.

1,000 consumers and businesses were invited to join the trial to test and experiment with 4G speeds.
O2 is doing this now to exploit and experiment with the next generation of mobile networks, so that when the 4G mobile spectrum becomes available in 2013, O2 is ready to hit the ground running

O2’s future rollout plans:

One of O2’s primary focuses is to remain at the forefront of mobile network innovation and to keep pushing the boundaries for customers and the UK.

This 4G network is evidence that O2 is serious about 4G and committed to delivering it as quickly as possible for customers, using leading insight and innovation.

The forthcoming spectrum auction is a watershed moment for the UK mobile industry, releasing the airwaves that will power a whole range of exciting next generation mobile services.

O2 welcomes Ofcom’s latest publication (published in January), which details modifications in its terms for the forthcoming spectrum auction. This comes as a result of the first consultation process, which it contributed to.

As we have said throughout this process, the key objective of the 4G auction should be to ensure that operators are able to exploit the full potential of the spectrum, in order to deliver true connectivity for the benefit of consumers, business and UK plc.

Ronan Dunne, Chief Executive Officer of Telefónica UK (O2), said: “The forthcoming spectrum auction is a watershed moment for the UK mobile industry, releasing the airwaves that will power a whole range of exciting next generation mobile services. The new spectrum will increase capacity, quality and speed (we estimate that mobile broadband capacity will increase by 20 to 40 times from today’s levels), and will allow us to deliver true connectivity through a suite of innovative digital services, that work seamlessly and at speed for the benefit of consumers, business and UK plc.”