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Everything, Everywhere & BT trial a 4G LTE network in Cornwall

100 mobile and 100 fixed line customers taking part in trial

Everything, Everywhere, the parent company that formed when UK network's T-Mobile and Orange merged, has joined forces with BT to trial 4G Long Term Evolution broadband in Cornwall.

Under the trial, which was first announced in May this year, the two companies will use 10MHz of the test 800MHz spectrum, which is currently used for terrestrial TV broadcasts, to bring wireless internet access to around 200 residents in the in St. Newlyn East and the surrounding areas of South Newquay.

The trial, which according to Everything, Everywhere will offer internet access for both 100 mobile and 100 fixed broadband customers, has already commenced and will run until early next year. It follows an eight-week laboratory trial of the technology and is designed to examine the potential suitability of the technology for area current classed as broadband 'notspots' or the locations that don't currently have internet access.

4G networks are thought to offer speeds 'up to' 100Mbps and will be able to cope with a greater capacity than existing 3G services, which is currently causing issues for the UK's mobile networks.

"Soon, more people will be accessing the internet on their mobile devices than on their PCs, and that means we need the right kind of networks in place to deliver the right kind of experience for our customers,” said Olaf Swantee, CEO, Everything Everywhere.

“This next generation mobile network [4G] will allow individuals and businesses across Britain to access the people, places and things they want, wherever they are, whenever they want - and it will be faster and easier than ever before."

BT said it was “committed” to working with the government and using technology innovation to find ways of addressing the remaining challenges within the UK were there are still  broadband ‘not-spots’. 

“The final ten per cent of the country won’t be covered by government funds and is exceedingly difficult to reach with the available standard fixed line solutions,” said Nigel Stagg, CEO, BT Wholesale.

“Our proof of concept trial in Cornwall will test the capabilities and services that a shared fixed and mobile data network can support and is just one of the technologies, along with fibre, that we are looking at to offer a possible solution to the rural broadband challenge.”

The trial comes ahead an auction of the 800MHz and 2.6Ghz spectrum by Ofcom that will see mobile networks given the chance to bid for shares of these spectrum ensuring they can roll out 4G services to Brits.

Initially, Ofcom said the auction would take place at the beginning of 2012, however it has now revised its timescale and moved the auctions expected start date to Q2, following he threat of legal action by O2 in June this year, and that’s if the scheme doesn’t hit any further delays.

However, in June this year O2 threatened Ofcom with legal action, claiming the auction was illegal under EU law. The network believes as itself and Vodafone already own some 900mhz spectrum, Ofcom will ensure a certain amount of new 800mhz spectrum goes to their rivals, but says the two spectrums aren't directly comparable and the move would give their rivals an advantage when all operators should start with a clean slate.

As a result, Ofcom has delayed the auction until the second quarter of 2012, which will mean it'll be 2014 before the networks can begin rolling out 4G services across the country.

Microsoft is also conducting a similar trial of 4G networks in Cambridge, in conjunction with the BBC, Sky and BT. The trial began in June.


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