O2 is set to trial next-generation 4G data services in London, utilising a Long Term Evolution (LTE) network across parts of the nation's capital over the next nine months.
Members of Parliament and regulatory body Ofcom recently urged mobile service providers to stop arguing over what portions of the network they would get control of, or how much they would need to bid during the auctioning off of the bandwidth. Now the ball is rolling, O2 will be issuing dongles to businesses, giving users access to the 2.6GHz spectrum.
The BBC reports that users in the trial are set to be achieving connection speeds of up to 50 megabits per second, though once the service is rolled out across the UK, this is likely to dip to somewhere around 10-15 Mbit/s.
While this is quite a drop in speed, compared to the current 3G average of 1.5Mbit/s it's still quite a jump. It is also thought that with 4G covering the more populated areas, the traditional 3G bandwidth can help cover parts of the UK which still lack high-speed wireless internet.
Commenting on the launch of the new trial, chief executive of O2's parent company, Telefonica UK, Ronan Dunne stated: "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."
The official auction for the network is expected to take place towards the end of next year, which puts the UK behind other countries such as Sweden and South Korea who have already begun their rollout of the technology.