Phones

O2 and TeliaSonera go 4G in Scandinavia -- and Slough

O2 is trialling super-speedy 4G mobile Internet connection in Slough, while TeliaSonera is offering lucky Scandinavians the first bite of the 4G cherry

If your 3G mobile phone just ain't fast enough for you, then cheer up, cheekychops: the first 4G network available to customers has been launched in Scandinavia, while tests take place in the UK. TeliaSonera is offering 4G in Sweden and Norway, with O2 testing the technology in Slough. Yes, Slough.

The lucky 4G recipients are Stockholm in Sweden, and Oslo in Norway. Swedes and Norwaynes wishing to level up to 4G need special Samsung modems, as there aren't any 4G phones yet.

Stockholm's 4G is powered by Ericsson. Oslo's 4G is courtesy of Huawei, which also provides the fantastic for O2's Slough demonstration. 4G modems aren't yet backwards-compatible to 3G, so Scandinavian early adopters shouldn't throw out their existing dongles until at least the second half of next year.

O2 has also tried out 4G in Slough -- where the network is headquartered, in case you were wondering -- and given the technology four thumbs-up. About time too, after O2 has taken a kicking for its patchy 3G coverage.

Right, pay attention, here comes the science. 4G refers to Long Term Evolution, a souped-up version of High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA), which makes your 3G phones and dongles work. To be considered 4G, a connection must boast a downlink rate of at least 100Mbps and an uplink rate of at least 50Mbps. That's up to 10 times faster than the 7.5Mbps of current HSDPA. Whoosh!

In Slough, O2 reckons it's hit 150Mbps, which is so fast your phone will be able to load a Web page before you've even thought about it. With data rates like that, high-quality video, music and games could be streamed to your phone effortlessly.

TeliaSonera wants to go quadruple-gee in 25 Swedish cities and three Norwegian cities by this time next year. The company also has a licence to roll out 4G in Finland. As for when we get 4G on these shores, nothing is certain, but the Slough trial is an excellent sign.