British mobile network operator O2 UK is claiming to have achieved downlink speeds of 150Mbps as part of trials of Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology which it is currently undertaking in the capital, London. According to T3, alongside the maximum recorded speed, average download rates for the trialists taking part were between 20Mbps and 50Mbps, the cellco said.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in November 2011 the operator announced the launch of an LTE pilot in London, noting that during the nine-month pilot scheme it aimed to provide ‘hundreds of consumers, businesses and venue owners with the latest 4G technology and give exclusive access to the first and largest urban 4G network in the UK’. For the trial O2 UK is using the 2.6GHz band under a Test and Development licence granted to it by UK telecoms regulator Ofcom, and as part of the project some 25 LTE-enabled base stations are understood to have been switched on, covering a combined area of 40 square kilometres, with the 4G network stretching from Hyde Park to The O2 dome in Greenwich. O2 UK had previously noted that the coverage area had been ‘carefully designed’ to reach key areas of the capital, including Canary Wharf, Soho, Westminster, South Bank and Kings Cross. The equipment for the Radio and Core network elements are being supplied by Finnish vendor Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN), while backhaul for the trial network has been provided using Microwave Radio Equipment from Cambridge Broadband Networks Limited, NEC and NSN.
As part of the tests O2 has said it plans to collect real-time network performance data, combined with anecdotal feedback from customers, with the results to be used to influence and shape its plans for any commercial implementation of LTE.