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3 Mobile to launch 4G mobile broadband trial in Thames Valley
A trial of 4G technology will be conducted in parts of the Thames Valley next year.Network operator 3 Mobile has unveiled plans to conduct a trial of super-fast 4G mobile broadband technology in parts of the Thames Valley next year.
Technical tests are due to get underway in March on a specially-created network covering areas around Maidenhead and Slough, while a further pilot scheme involving real-world customers will be conducted later on in 2012.
The move means 3 Mobile will become the latest telecoms firm to explore 4G capabilities. BT and Everything Everywhere are currently trialling the service in Cornwall, while O2 is conducting a nine-month test across central London.
O2's pilot has seen more than 25 4G sites rolled out in the capital, covering a combined area of 40 km sq.
More than 1,000 individuals are expected to take part in the project, along with partners such as department store chain John Lewis, gadget magazine Gizmodo UK and the Institution of Engineering and Technology.
However, none of the operators will be able to commercially roll out the service across their networks until they purchase additional spectrum at the delayed 4G auction, which is set to take place at the end of next year.
Commenting on the pilot scheme, 3 Mobile chief executive David Dyson said upgrades such as this allow its customers to make full use of their devices in more locations.
"Our ability to provide all-you-can-eat data packages depends on a combination of smart network management, investment in improved technologies and the spectrum that is the lifeblood of mobile," he added.
The news comes shortly after Everything Everywhere, which operates the Orange and T-Mobile brands, pledged to invest £1.5 billion over the next three years on preparing its network for the launch of 4G mobile broadband services.
"We are devoting huge resources ... and are already trialling, learning and laying the groundwork so that we are prepared to introduce 4G services as soon as it's feasible," said Fotis Karonis, the network operator's chief technology officer.