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By: MarkJ - 7 November, 2011 (11:33 AM)
lte logomanx telecom ukThe Isle of Man's (British Isles) largest telecommunications and broadband internet provider (ISP), Manx Telecom, has announced that it is to begin trials of superfast Mobile Broadband (4G) services using Long Term Evolution ( LTE ) technology.

The network trials, which are to be conducted alongside telecommunications firm Alcatel-Lucent, will start this week at two locations in and around Douglas. The first will be in Douglas centre, which will extend along Strand Street and the Promenade, while the second will be at the Isle of Man Business Park.

Manx Telecom's CEO, Mike Dee, said:

"4G (LTE) has tremendous potential and we are looking forward to hosting a practical demonstration of its capabilities. Of course, to make 4G (LTE) technology available to consumers would require one of the biggest investments in Manx Telecom’s history in order to upgrade our entire mobile infrastructure.

As always, Manx Telecom is looking ahead and examining every opportunity to develop our world class mobile network even further. Innovation is in our DNA and we hope to bring our customers 4G services in 2013 although this is very much dependent on the availability of smartphones and handsets."

It's understood that the 4G network will initially help to support Wi-Fi Hotspots, which is due to the lack of LTE/4G equipped devices. Manx Telecom claims that early tests of the new setup have been able to deliver download speeds of up to 55Mbps and up to 18Mbps upload (much better than current 3G services), although this will slow when more users begin sharing the capacity.

Last year a European private equity firm, HgCapital, acquired Telefonica's majority stake in Manx Telecom for £158.8 million (here). Since then the operator has also launch an up to 40Mbps superfast fixed-line broadband service using VDSL technology ( i.e. FTTC ).
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