Business mobile connectivity

I have seen the future… (mystic waily voice) #4G #digitalbritain #O2 #iPlayer

speed test using a 4G dongle from O2 shows 38Meg down 27Meg upAs I gaze into my crystal ball the mists are swirling, swirling.  Now they are disappearing. Ah, it is all clear.  I can see blue skies. I can see people dancing, holding aloft their smartphones and tablets. Waving. Everyone is happy. Where is this mythical land where the rivers flow with champagne/beer/cappucino (delete as appropriate)?iPlayer streaming Frozen Planet in HD to a laptop through an O2 4G dongle

It is here, where you and I live. In Blighty. Home.

I have just come back from O2’s offices in Slough where I had a play with 4G on a laptop. The jpg in the header photo shows the download and upload performance. The speed varies but does go as high as 80 – 85Megs down.

The laptop I was using only needed 7Megs worth of bandwidth for its day to day activities – email, streaming HD etc so there is plenty of headroom when considering personal use. It is easy however to imagine this service being used as a replacement for fixed line bandwidth where a family would certainly use up all the bandwidth available. Also who knows what bandwidth hungry applications are round the corner. They will come.

The demo is impressive. The photo inset was taken from my Samsung Galaxy 2 so isn’t a screenshot and the quality could be better. It doesn’t matter. I watched Frozen Planet streaming in HD on iPlayer – no buffering, perfect quality.

O2 has recently announced 4G trials in an area of London between Kings Cross and the City. I am taking part. Watch this space for up to the minute information on 4G.

I have seen the future. The future is 4G.

Trefor Davies

By Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of, writer, poet,

11 replies on “I have seen the future… (mystic waily voice) #4G #digitalbritain #O2 #iPlayer”

Yep, and the present right now in this house is 12Mbps on the Mifi. Like you say, enough headroom to proceed as some of us out in the sticks have been trying to for a decade. I was hoping to be wearing a nice copper bracelet on Thursday but haven’t had time to knit the old landline into one yet.

Oh, but certain companies don’t like 4G and appear to be stymying the 800Mhz auction to protect ‘monopoly’ on their underused 900Mhz spectrum and prevent companies like Three, Orange etc getting it out there. Hence the delay in getting the future to the masses. Lucky you to be in a trial. HSPA+ is pretty cool but 4G up here in Cumbria would mean a whole new industry knitting bracelets.

It’s OK while you have one user, but put 100 on it and you’re dividing the performance by a big number.

Fixed lines do at least deliver dedicated bandwidth to each consumer, 4G and other wireless solutions are always sharing limited spectrum.

I guess I’m just unlucky and my nearest mobile phone mast is a long way away…

4G might be like all the other super-duper-fast broadband out there – great if you live near to the right exchange/transmitter 🙁


Here we go again.

I remember reading of how 3G was going to revolutionise the way we communicated, we could surf the web, play games and then there was 3G’s ‘killer app’, video calling (which actually ran over a 64Kb connection, anyone remember those ads for Three?)

Operators were burdened with debt from the bidding war for the operator licences thanks to a greedy Chancellor (yes I think they were well and truly fleeced)

They thought they were going to recoup the losses from data charges but at the prices charged noone was biting.

To stoke demand they had to bundle it, customers bit hard and then the indrastructure struggled, bolt ons such as HSPA were added but customers will use everything they are offered for free effectively so it’s hitting the limits again and the operators are in a mad scramble to add extra base stations etc.

The same will happen with LTE so am not really that surprised that some are seeking to stall the progress.

I’m all for progress but I think it will be oversold to generate income and we’ll end up back where we are now.

I realise there is a lot to the 4G debate but for this post I am content to wear my rose tinted spectacles and look on the bright side of life. He’s not Brian, I’m Brian 🙂

If it breaks the stranglehold of the copper its worth a punt. Trouble is we won’t get it in rural areas cos there ain’t the masts. Again, to those who have, more will be given. 🙂
We’ll just have to lay some fibre and do the job the incumbent should have done. Then we’ll put some masts up. Then we’ll overlay a wireless cloud. Then we’ll build our own data centres for another cloud. And on the Sabbath we shall rest.
I have rose tinted glasses too eh? Are we dreamers? Shouldn’t we have a dream?
Or should we just sit back and moan about the limited access? I guess we have to jfdi, otherwise we’ll be left in the digital dark ages, because everything available today is getting saturated due to monopolies and greed. ISPs are getting fleeced by wholesale, who is probably getting fleeced by openreach and so it goes on. Where does the buck stop and who is gonna stop the buckstopper throttling inovation and growth?

This is all beginning to sound like an excerpt from The Wizard of Oz. Jest follow that Yellow Brick Road but take yer wellies coz there’s a few muck heaps on the way 🙂

I think it’s the latency that kills mobile broadband not just the speed or issues around shared capacity and distance. A webpage has to make multiple requests to different servers and the latency on each request can be as much as a quarter of a second.

I can’t wait 30 seconds to download a webpage because I’m way too impatient/busy and important (!) and that’s what it takes on a standard 2.5G connection (apart from the very simple pages). When I do venture into a city, it seems to work a faster on 3G, but still not fast enough to encourage me to use mobile broadband and I’m a long way from wanting to rely on it.

The ping time on your 4G speed test photo is faster than the fixed-line broadband connection I have at home, and the bandwidth is 10 times higher. I’d love to try it out!

4G is a FTTx solution – fibre to the cell tower. It needs fibre for the backhaul.

4G is an interesting technology no doubt, but I think there are some questions on how it will scale for lots of users and the underlying cost. The point about what people are willing to pay is an important one – its really hurting the MNO’s and its also preventing investment – at the end of the day we are here to be profitable businesses that can invest in new future technologies as they arrive. For example G.FAST which has the potential to run copper lines upto 1Gbps and XG-PON which will allow fibre to run well beyond 10Gpbs.

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