Wales in major mobile broadband trial

The UK's first Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile wireless broadband trial on the 800 MHz spectrum will take place in Wales, it has been confirmed.

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The UK's first Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile wireless broadband trial on the 800 MHz spectrum will take place in Wales, it has been confirmed.

Arqiva and Alcatel-Lucent have joined forces to trial the LTE technology using TV spectrum in the Preseli Mountains, West Wales.

The 4G mobile trial aims to demonstrate the economic and technical viability of extending broadband internet services to areas with no broadband coverage and those with broadband speeds lower than 2mbps (10 percent of UK households).

This is the first live LTE trial in the UK to use the 800MHz spectrum freed up by the digital TV switchover, and can deliver speeds over 50mbps.

The Preseli Mountains area has already switched to digital TV. The area has the combination of a low population with dispersed communities, making it typical of areas that cannot be reached economically with existing fixed broadband networks, said Arqiva and Alcatel-Lucent.

Arqiva wants to offer a neutral-host network solution that gives wholesale access to all service providers and new entrants. The company provides infrastructure for television, radio, satellite and wireless communications in the UK, with customers including the BBC, ITV, BSkyB independent radio groups, major telecoms firms and the UK's five mobile network operators.

Lakh Jemmett, Alcatel-Lucent president for north Europe, said: "LTE technology offers the potential to accelerate the availability of broadband services to individuals and businesses that do not have access to services that many of us take for granted."

Steve Holebrook, managing director of Arqiva’s government, mobile and  enterprise business, said, "We firmly believe that the combination of LTE technology, the 800MHz spectrum and a neutral-host commercial model is the best way of providing rural communities with broadband quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively."

More than 60 percent of the world's population will have access to some form of 4G mobile broadband technology by 2015, according to ABI Research.

ABI says that between LTE and WiMAX, 4G technologies will reach an estimated 4.4 billion people within the next five years. This is more than double the 2 billion people today who currently have access to 3G mobile data technologies.

It estimates that around 770 million users around the world currently have access to either WiMAX or LTE services.

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