Everything Everywhere teams with BT for 4G trial

  • @MrNickClark

BT has teamed up with Orange's parent, Everything Everywhere, to carry out the first live trials of next-generation mobile broadband in Britain.

The two companies will today announce testing of the so-called 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology in Cornwall.

The trial, which starts in September and runs through to December, will bring wireless broadband to about 100 premises in the "not spots" of a rural site just south of Newquay and 100 mobile broadband users.

Tom Alexander, chief executive of Everything Everywhere, said the move was a "learning experience, it's a stake in the ground".

LTE will allow users to surf the internet on the move at up to 20 times the current speeds. The mobile operators are waiting for the Government to auction off the spectrum needed to provide the service in 2013 before it is widely rolled out the following year. "We're a long way from having all the infrastructure and devices in place," Mr Alexander said.

Terry Norman, an analyst at Analysys Mason, said today's news was "very exciting", adding: "LTE is fundamentally important for the UK, not only to compete in the mobile market but more importantly for the wider economy, and potentially reducing the digital divide."

The Government has set the UK industry the ambitious target of having the best super-fast broadband infrastructure in Europe by 2015. Yet telecoms groups have struggled to offer services to the most remote areas, saying it becomes too costly.

BT said using partnerships, subsidies and new technologies, such as LTE, will help to extend super-fast broadband to the final 10 per cent of the country.

Sally Davis, the chief executive of BT Wholesale, said the group was "really keen to examine all-access technology".