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O2 starting 4G LTE mobile broadband tests in London today

The U.S. have been enjoying superfast 4G mobile broadband for some time now, though it looks as though the UK’s turn is approaching, as mobile network O2 start trialling the service in London today.

Around one thousand O2 customers, businesses and venues will be kitted out with future tech which will give them advanced 4G mobile broadband with speeds of up to 100Mbps.

There will be 25 4G sites across the city of London, covering an area of around 40 square kilometres. The trial will run until June 2012, giving those lucky enough to feature in the trial a chance to experience the future for a decent stretch of time.

Participants of the trial will be given special 4G mobile broadband dongles made by Samsung, as well as 4G capable smartphones and 4G mobile hotspot devices, which will allow users to share their superfast 4G broadband connection.

Many key areas of London will be covered by the mini 4G network, including Canary Wharf, Hyde Park and the O2 arena. Browsing speeds while using the 4G technology should be comparable to the speeds you would experience at home on your laptop, connected to home broadband. The trial aims to give people a look at what the future of mobile internet will be like.

O2 is the second largest mobile network in the UK with over 22 million customers. The Telefonica-owned company initially began testing 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) technology back in 2009. Everything Everywhere, the combined network of Orange and T-Mobile, also began 4G trials this year, though in less populated rural areas of the country.

“Today’s launch of the UK’s first 4G London trial network demonstrates our commitment to delivering 4G to our customers at the earliest opportunity”,  says Ronan Dunne, Chief Executive Officer of Telefónica UK (O2). “The work we are doing now will lay the foundations for our commercial 4G network when it launches in the UK.”

Our UK government is expected to start auctioning off the new 4G spectrum part way through 2012, with O2, Everything Everywhere and Three already staking serious claims, with hopes of becoming the first UK networks to start offering 4G connectivity.

Interestingly, O2 say that the 25 trial locations for 4G mobile broadband will cater for more internet usage than O2’s entire 3G network during the trial period. We can’t wait for 4G tech and 4G devices to hit the UK, it’s been too long already.

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