O2 launches "Friendly User Tests" for LTE

-Free trial period starts today
-Commercial start of LTE in first half of 2011
MUNICH. Today, Telefónica O2 Germany today launched "Friendly User Tests" for LTE (Long Term Evolution). Several hundred customers and non-customers can try O2's new broadband wireless technology free of charge at home for six months. Even in so-called white spots which had no broadband connection so far, users can enjoy the same data transfer rates as with DSL. O2 will start marketing LTE commercially in 2011.
O2 is running its "Friendly User Tests" in its pilot networks in Munich, Ebersberg, Halle and Teutschenthal. In the last few weeks, more than one thousand people in these regions applied for participating in the tests. First routers and USB sticks for LTE are now being sent out. "Instead of building individual base stations, we started right away with whole pilot networks," explains Andrea Folgueiras, Managing Director Network Technology of Telefónica O2 Germany. "They span more than one thousand square kilometres in total and reach almost half a million people." O2 will start building its networks for commercial LTE at the beginning of next year. The launch of O2 LTE products for end customers is already planned for the first half of the year. To begin with, rural locations like Klein Wanzleben and Alsleben in Saxony-Anhalt and other municipalities will be provided with the new technology. Thereby, O2 is supporting the Federal Government's broadband initiative to provide fast Internet access to rural areas.
At a press conference today, O2 showed what LTE is capable of. HD video conferences between the pilot networks went smoothly and without any disturbances. Furthermore, download tests achieved data transfer rates of up to 100 megabits per second. Pilot network partners AVM, Huawei and Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) demonstrated how they are supporting O2 with their technology for the development of LTE. AVM announced the production start of LTE hardware and will supply the next generation of its Fritz!Box routers for the "Friendly User Tests". Huawei presented a new USB stick for LTE and showcased LTE base stations for the urban pilot networks with 2.6-gigahertz frequencies as well as the rural "Friendly User Tests" with 800-megahertz bandwidths. The mobile NSN reporters broadcasted live from the motocross track in Teutschenthal and the Christmas market in Halle where the network equipment supplier supports O2's LTE pilot networks. VoIP calls via LTE to standard GSM and UMTS mobiles were also demonstrated.
Telefónica O2 Germany GmbH & Co. OHG belongs to Telefónica Europe and is part of the Spanish telecommunication group Telefónica S.A. The Company offers its German private and business customers postpaid and prepaid mobile telecom products as well as innovative mobile data services based on the GPRS and UMTS technologies. In addition, the integrated communications provider also offers DSL fixed network telephony and high-speed internet. Telefónica Europe has about 55 million mobile and fixed network customers in Great Britain, Ireland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Germany.