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O2 to trial LTE - next-generation mobile broadband
Friday 02 October 2009 00:58:59 by John Hunt

Telefonica, parent company to O2, have announced trials in 6 different countries, including the UK, of Long Term Evolution (LTE), a next-generation mobile broadband technology that will offer users a faster service. Telefonica will be using the trial to evaluate equipment in the field and to determine its strategy for deploying its next generation network. The trials will use six different hardware manufacturers including Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Huawei, NEC, Nokia Siemens Network, and ZTE.

"At Telefónica we are working with the conviction that we can only offer our clients the maximum levels of quality and innovation. To do this, we are defining our strategy and the rollout of LTE with the objective of driving mobile broadband and offering the best service from the moment that the equipment and terminals can support the new standards and are available for sale."

Julio Linares, (COO) Telefónica

Telefonica demonstrated LTE in April this year with Ericsson in Madrid. The test involved a VoIP call in a video call, and also downloads of data and images at speeds in excess of 140 meg. When a live service, they expect to offer a peak speed of 340 meg. To put that in to perspective, it's nearly 50 times faster than the 7.2 meg mobile broadband that is currently commonly available in the UK (athough Vodafone have a few areas which support up to 14.4 meg). Best of fixed-line broadband, currently fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) deployments, support only 100 meg services, although fibre does offer the ability to be upgraded to faster speeds such as 1 Gbps in the future.

LTE is however only a 3G technology (it doesn't meet the ITU's requirement for 4G which includes peak data rates of 1 Gbps), and as such, work is already under-way for it's 4G replacement - LTE Advanced - which will support these. Even in the non-advanced form, LTE has the potential to be a fixed-line broadband killer as the speeds available will rival those of fixed broadband services which are likely to stay around a maximum of 24meg for many users for several years to come. Indeed, for some even these speeds are a pipe dream due to either poor quality or long telephone lines. The governments universal broadband commitment only looking to promise 2meg to users doesn't help advance this significantly.

Of course, some users are more lucky, and in areas where Virgin Media cable services are available, they can currently get 50 meg broadband which is likely to rise to 100 meg or perhaps 200 meg in the future when there is more demand for speed, and competition to rival it. For those without, LTE may prove to be the best solution to get fast broadband.


Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Sure, and what's its QoS? Peering/Transit? Current mobile broadband typically has terrible latency, and even 4G services probably won't solve that entirely... not to mention the extortionate bandwidth charges.

Headline speed is one, ONE measure of a connection.

(And NTL fall down as well on many of the other ones)
Posted by meldrew over 8 years ago
Whatever happened to WiMax...?
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Yea, I keep asking that too :/

(The spectrum was bought by people who had little real intention of rolling it out, is the unfortunate answer)
Posted by Gzero over 8 years ago
Last time I looked in on the battle, LTE had the advantage over WiMax.

Something along the lines that it would fit in with what the mobile companies already offer easily with little restructuring (not physical, I mean business wise).
Posted by Gzero over 8 years ago
Oh and if you look here:
The last time it was updated was in april. I'm guessing that's not a good sign for Wimax in the UK.
That said, in the US looks busy as ever. Helps when it's Intel that developed is situated in the US.

**Goes and ponders, UK always playing catchup?**
Posted by bosie over 8 years ago
Is the UK one of the 6 then?
Posted by john (Favicon staff member) over 8 years ago
Made better reference to UK now.

Latency for LTE is expected to be around 10ms for first.

Peering and transit- no reason it would be worse than any other broadband provider.
Posted by timmay over 8 years ago
Well O2's test bed in the UK is the Isle of Man so if it's not there I'll be surprised. That's hardly UK though.
Posted by c_j_ over 8 years ago
WiMax in the UK was allegedly being led by an Intel-funded Pipex Wireless-operated outfit whose most recent name I remember is Freedom4. They were allegedly operational in MK, Warwick, Manchester, and maybe elsewhere. has a news page last updated November 2008. They did win this year's ISPA award for Best Business Mobile Broadband though (you'd have thought that might be worth a mention on their news).
Posted by herdwick over 8 years ago
the thing to watch is the sector throughput, for example Motorola recently achieved LTE download throughput up to 70 megabits per second (Mbps) in a 20 megahertz (MHz) bandwidth channel.

This means that all of the customers of one provider on a mast have a maximum of 70M to go at - does this really sound like a fixed line killer ?
Posted by uniquename over 8 years ago
Early this year when O2 Access was having one of its frequent dire spells, a poster said (when he complained) that support had told him O2 were going to ditch Access in favour of mobile broadband.

My reaction and that of others was he was being told rubbish.

Maybe just the timescale needed including.
Posted by Dixinormous over 8 years ago
@herdwick given that each cable area potentially only has 38Mbps for as many as 500 customers and can in some cases get away with selling 20Mbps connections on it yes it could certainly be quite impressive.
Posted by ElBobbo over 8 years ago
Given that the masts are already there, if they can get away with upgrading the backhaul conventional ISPs could be dealing with a serious competitor. 3G/3.5G isn't very good because the latency is appalling and the connection can be patchy, but LTE seems to (in theory) solve at least the latency issue.
Posted by ElBobbo over 8 years ago
I guess the question is are they going to continue abusing users by charging atrocious amounts for bandwidth, or are they going to invest upgrading the backhaul equipment for their masts and provide a next gen service.
Posted by chrysalis over 8 years ago
the 70mbit per local node really depends on how many of these nodes exist. If its on the same sort of levels as cable node's then it has potential but I never see wireless been as good as wired, things like jitter will be too apparent.
Posted by andys999 over 8 years ago
I think this is great news,mobile broadband will rule believe me,at home i can only get 1.8mb on a fixed line,fixed line broadband sucks,thanks to buzby bt making investment 20 years out of date!!!!!!
I get max 7.8mb on voda laptop with built in sim its great and cheap.fixed line will be a thing of the past.NO MORE BT
Posted by otester over 8 years ago
As long as the minimum is higher than 1Mb/384Kb with good latency I'm all in.

Going by the current user ratios per mast, it looks like a minimum of 8Mb downstream should be achievable.
Posted by dragon1945 over 8 years ago
Severely underwhelmed. O2 told me many years ago that they needed a new mast so we could receive mobile calls. I can get incoming texts sometimes, but to reply have to walk 1/2 a mile across the fields. There isn't a hope in h*ll of talking on the mobile. [No, It's not just O2, it's all of them.] The chances of ever getting mobile BB are about as remote as getting 2MB BB on the landline. I'm not in the Outback. The nearest town is approximately 3 miles to the outskirts, and 4 miles to the centre.
Posted by Enrico21 over 8 years ago
dragon1945 - perhaps some hope if the technology in the following article becomes viable? - if the technology referred
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