Everything Everywhere and BT Wholesale extend 4G trial


4G LTE trial launched in October to provide mobile broadband access to customers in St Newlyn in Cornwall will run until June 2012

Ofcom has granted Everything Everywhere (EE) and BT Wholesale permission to extend their trial of 4G LTE broadband in Cornwall until June this year.

EE and BT began the trial in October 2011, offering 180 customers in St. Newlyn East in Cornwall access to next generation mobile broadband.

EE said that customers in the area who had previously struggled to get broadband speeds of 2Mbps were now achieving average speeds of 7Mbps.

EE said the trial had “proven” that low frequency spectrum such as the 800MHz range was the most efficient for delivering mobile broadband to rural areas.

In its second consultation document released last week on the 4G spectrum auction scheduled for the end of this year, Ofcom removed proposals to guarantee Everything Everywhere access to a tranche of 800MHz spectrum for delivering 4G.

EE CEO Olaf Swantee (pictured) said: “The rollout of 4G will help drive economic growth and create jobs across the UK by making the economy more competitive, by enabling businesses to be more productive, and by allowing consumers to benefit from the latest mobile innovations.

“This trial has been key in investigating ways to rapidly bring 4G LTE to Britain, and Ofcom is helping us do the groundwork to accelerate the UK from laggard to leader.”

BT Wholesale CEO Nigel Stagg said: “This trial is enabling us to see at first hand the real difference LTE  is making in rural Cornwall and how it could provide an alternative mode of delivery in rural areas to complement fibre delivered broadband.

“There’s no doubt that fixed line solutions offer a faster and more reliable broadband service, but there isn’t a single silver bullet to meet the rural broadband challenge.

“We continue to also assess other potential solutions including other mobile and wireless technologies.”