Manx Telecom, the world’s first telecoms operator to launch a 3G network, is to trial the fourth generation of mobile technology. 4G (LTE) - Long Term Evolution - offers much higher download and upload speeds for all mobile devices and the Manx Telecom trial will be the first on the Island. The new technology provides super-fast mobile broadband equivalent to today’s fixed line broadband, enabling HD video streaming to mobiles, an enhanced experience for interactive gaming and for any application that users currently experience at home or in the office.
Manx Telecom has teamed up with Alcatel-Lucent - the worldwide technology leader that has pioneered LTE technology - to create a 4G (LTE) trial network on the Island which will be used to demonstrate the technology’s capabilities to key clients from the private and public sectors. Until November 11, the trial network will cover two areas - one in Douglas centre which will extend along Strand Street in Douglas (including Manx Telecom’s flagship store) and along the Promenade. The second will be at the Isle of Man Business Park covering Manx Telecom’s HQ.
As there are currently very few 4G enabled devices on the market, Alcatel-Lucent and Manx Telecom engineers are using bespoke 4G devices to create Wi-Fi hotspots so that existing devices can be used to demonstrate the faster speeds of 4G. Manx Telecom’s guests - who will include IT Solution Architect and Technology blogger Owen Cutajar and social media expert Derek Richardson as well as representatives from many of the Island’s businesses - will be taken on a tour in a minibus equipped with mobile devices which can show the capabilities of 4G.
Mike Dee, Manx Telecom CEO, 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. But, 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.”
Initial 4G (LTE) tests on the Island have shown speeds of up to 55 Mbit/s download and up to 18 Mbit/s upload. With more users on the network these speeds would be reduced, but would still be significantly higher than those currently available. As well as higher speeds, another advantage of 4G (LTE) is that the strength of the signal received is rarely affected by buildings or other physical obstacles between antennae and mobile devices, whereas these factors can interrupt 3G signals.
In technical terms, 4G has a lower ‘latency’ than 3G and signal strength is improved. For example, if you are playing an online game there will be fewer and shorter time delays on 4G than on 3G. Because 4G works at lower frequencies, mobile coverage and, in particular, indoor coverage, is improved without the need for large numbers of new masts. These frequencies only became available for mobile broadband use when analogue TV broadcasts were switched off. Licences to use the frequencies required for 4G mobile networks on the Island have yet to be awarded by the Isle of Man Communications Commission.
Alcatel-Lucent is a world leader in 4G (LTE) technology and has been selected by the two largest US service providers - AT&T and Verizon Wireless - for commercial deployments, and has been involved in several customer trials of the new technology. Lucy Dimes, CEO UK & Ireland Alcatel-Lucent, said:
“We are delighted to be working along side Manx Telecom, the company which pioneered 3G and 3.5G mobile services. 4G is a technology which offers significantly enhanced user experiences and we look forward to showing just what 4G can do in the Isle of Man trial.”
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