The future of the UK’s Internet looks to make amends for what is a fairly dismal display compared to the rest of the world. With the hopeful introduction of 4G later this year, O2 has been testing the signal and have been finding 150MBPS, which is light years ahead of what we get today. Ofcom are backing the technology and networks are deciding on utilising the 3G infrastructure that is already there. At the moment, rural areas and city centres with large buildings affect the signal quality that we get with 3G, but with the new 4G technology that should be reduced and the speeds drastically upped.
Although O2 has been reporting speeds of 150MBPS, there are still people that are receiving 20-50MBPS, which is still good but if there is a price hike for what is only a slight improvement the UK population will not be happy. The UK network is claiming that it only takes a few seconds to download a 40MB file, dubbing it the ‘click-to-bang’ phenomenon. At the moment there are 25 sites that have access to the 4G network on O2 which stretches from Westminster, to South bank, Kings Cross, Hyde Park and obviously the O2 Arena before stopping at Canary Wharf, which is a large portion of central London. When the technology is rolled out across the country, it opens more doors for companies to provide bigger and better things as the Internet connections will be able to handle larger files for up- and downloads.
The 1,000 lucky people in London that have access to the 4G service from O2 have been asked to feedback their usage to help iron out any bugs. Although there are quoted dates of the beginning of 2013 for the rest of the country, Ofcom is actually the one that wants the technology to be rolled out before then. The regulator wants the UK public to be able to access faster speeds for their Internet and as smartphones are becoming cleverer and will be able to handle 4G then it’s time to match the handset to the available network speeds.
At the moment, O2 users need to use a 4G dongle by Samsung and Mi-Fi. The integration of the technology into the marketplace is being trialled for so long so that the switch over is made more easily. With the US market steaming ahead with stunning Internet speeds of at least 100MBPS, but has lower-spec smartphones as handset technology isn’t quite there yet, it seems there is a skewed relationship between the smartphone and the available connections. With more and more delays of 4G in the UK it could be a blessing as many people want to be able to access the technology from their smartphone and if the handsets aren’t up to the job then there is no point. However, the popular mobile phone contract comparison site, Mobile Phone Checker, has all of the latest and best handsets to choose from as 4G gets rolled out.
With dismal speeds from some providers of less than 10MBPS and worse at high-usage times of the day, we need to push the new technology ahead and have the infrastructure and hardware to be able to utilise it.