O2 reveals 4G trial in Slough can handle 3G traffic for the entire country

O2 has revealed more details of its 4G trial in Slough, claiming the six masts involved can handle the same volume of traffic as O2's entire 3G network.

O2 has revealed more details of its 4G trial in Slough. Six mobile phone masts have been equipped to handle LTE signals for high-speed Web browsing when you're out and about with your 4G-equipped mobile phone, tablet or laptop.

O2 reckons the six masts in the trial can handle the same volume of traffic as O2's entire 3G network. Cor! Network speeds are theoretically 10 times faster than 3G, as 4G is "entirely centred around data, with voice effectively an added bolt on".

LTE stands for long-term evolution, which, along with WiMax, is one of the contenders to replace 3G as the next generation of wireless data network. Technically, WiMax and LTE aren't actually 4G , but as they're one louder than 3G, many phone companies are sticking with the 4G name.

O2 isn't the only company with a 4G trial on the go. Alcatel and Arqiva are running an LTE trial in Wales . The UK could go properly 4G from 2012, when Ofcom sells chunks of the spectrum for high-speed access.

In the meantime, O2 is planning a boosted 900MHz 3G network in London and some other parts of the country, and continues to invest in both the 3G and older 2G networks.

4G is one of the few areas of the mobile phone world where the US is more advanced than us, and as American networks take up WiMax or LTE phone fans can enjoy a range of phones we won't get , including the HTC Thunderbolt, Motorola Droid Bionic and Samsung SuperGoGoDestroyer. One of those may be made up.

Are we missing out? Would you change networks if they could offer you next-generation speeds? Tell us in the comments or on our Facebook wall. For more next-gen tech, check out our look at the future of mobile phones .

About the author

Rich Trenholm is a senior editor at CNET where he covers everything from phones to bionic implants. Based in London since 2007, he has travelled the world seeking out the latest and best consumer technology for your enjoyment.


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