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UK Broadband First to Launch Commercial 4G Mobile Internet Service via 3.5GHz

Wednesday, Feb 29th, 2012 (12:32 pm) - Score 1,099

UK Broadband (UKB), a sibling of Hong Kong based telecoms firm PCCW, has today switched on the world’s first deployment of TD-LTE (Huawei’s Time Division – Long Term Evolution) Mobile Broadband technology using the 3.5GHz spectrum band in London. UKB claims that this also represents the “first commercial deployment” of a 4G service in the UK.

The operator plans to offer its commercial service to businesses, consumers and the public sector (wholesale) from May 2012, although initially it will only be available in the Southbank and Borough areas of Southwark. The service itself will be targeted at solutions where there is demand for faster wireless/mobile data capacity.

Nicholas James, UKB’s CEO, said:

We’re very excited to be switching on our first TD-LTE system in the UK using our 4G spectrum. We’re working with Huawei because we believe they have the expertise and experience we need to deliver the best solution.”

Victor Zhang, CEO of Huawei UK, added:

Utilising Huawei’s equipment, UKB’s spectrum and our combined expertise, the availability of LTE in the UK from today will give a significant boost to the UK’s Government’s broadband agenda. We are proud to be involved in this project and are dedicated to supporting UKB and the Government to help connect more people to high speed wireless broadband networks.”

The network will apparently use UK Broadband’s 124MHz of spectrum in LTE bands 42 and 43 (3.5GHz and 3.6GHz), which can also support the 1Gbps (Gigabits per second) capable LTE-Advanced technology (i.e. true 4G) and could thus deliver “superfast broadband speeds to a large number of users simultaneously“.

In reality UKB’s rollout plan is extremely vague and 3.5GHz tends to work best in low mobility environments, such as for a local fixed wireless service. The Swindon Borough Council are known to have an interest in this as a partial replacement for their failed Digital City Wi-Fi solution (here) and Virgin Media has also shown some interest.

Quite where the service will go from here is unclear. UK Broadband has been trying to make a viable wireless solution for years and hardware manufacturers have only recently managed to catch up with their ambitions. We suspect that most of their clients will remain business focused but it will be interesting to see what happens.

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Mark-Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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