Virgin Media tests 4G in the UK

23 January 2012 | Kavit Majithia


Virgin Media has confirmed it has trialled and tested its 4G mobile network on fibre connectivity in the UK, ahead of the country’s forthcoming spectrum auctions.

Due to take place later this year, the spectrum auctions will see the UK finally join the US, parts of Asia and many European countries in enabling 4G connectivity on mobile networks. Virgin Media, which held private tests for 4G in London’s Oxford Street last month, is also considering the launch of a nationwide wireless network using small transmitters for access to its fibre network. According to the company, this will provide access to high-speed mobile data, reportedly six times faster than present 3G connectivity.

Its latest trials indicate the company’s intentions ahead of the UK’s long anticipated spectrum auctions. The Financial Times reports the company is considering bidding for the shorter range 2.6GHz frequency in preference over the popular 800MHz because of its intentions in establishing a new mobile network that works in a similar way to Wifi transmission, in effect, taking the strain away from mobile networks. The technology has already been tested by Vodafone in rural areas and is designed to provide high quality data carrying signals linked to physical lines – but covering a wider surface area.

“This wireless solution fits so well with our fibre network which cover most major cities,” commented Kevin Baughan, director of wireless at Virgin Media. “We are interested in working with Wifi as well as licensed spectrum. It provides capacity to where people need it the most.”