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Virgin Media Trials 90Mbps 4G Small Cell Mobile Broadband in 2 UK Cities

Wednesday, Sep 26th, 2012 (1:51 pm) - Score 981

Cable operator Virgin Media Business claims to have “successfully trialled … LTE-readysmall cell based Mobile Broadband technology in Newcastle and Bristol (England), which delivered internet speeds that were “three times faster than current 3G networks” (i.e. up to 90 Megabits per second).

According to Virgin, small cells are apparently able to deliver “faster and more robust internet connections” than existing 3G or WiFi technology, both inside buildings and outside in public spaces, and could potentially offer an answer to the “rapidly accelerating demand” for mobile broadband in urban areas.

Indeed this is something that Virgin have been exploring since last year (here) and could potentially be fed by the operators existing fixed line broadband network.

Kevin Baughan, Director of Wireless at VMB, said:

We’re incredibly excited to be at the very forefront of small cell radio access network trials. In the future, cities will demand even faster connectivity and with mobile broadband set for explosive growth, small cells are offering a way forward that will rise to the challenge of superfast connectivity on the move.

Just recently we gave the public a vision of the future, where ubiquitous high-speed connectivity enables incredible technology such as 3D printing in your home and crowdsourcing on a massive scale. Generation IP gave a glimpse into a bigger, better and more connected future for Britain’s towns and cities. With these successful trials we’re a step closer to that future.”

Virgin admits that it’s still in the early stages of understanding what small cells, which could easily be mounted on street lights or at similar locations, can do. Meanwhile BTOpenreach has this week proposed to use a similar technology for expanding mobile coverage into digital isolated rural areas (here).

So far neither operator has made any firm commitments to offer a commercial solution.

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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