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back to article Virgin ramps 4G to a whopping 90Mbps - and switches it off

Virgin Mobile has completed its 4G trials in the UK, hitting speeds of 90Mbps both indoors and out. But don't expect EE's 4G monopoly to break any time soon despite the ongoing collaboration between the two companies. Virgin's mobile business is a virtual operator, carried on EE's 2G and 3G networks, but these next-gen mobile …

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No matter how much bandwidth you generate

Teenage girls will fill it with smiley faces and LOL's dragging the performance into the dirt. Operating systems will get blabbier and fill the air with streams of information designed to help the cell providers track your movements, interactions and purchases. And the security services? Well, we cannot talk about them, can we?

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Coat

Re: No matter how much bandwidth you generate

Yeah, pesky teenage girls! Don't they know the internets were created for teenage boys to download pr0n?

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Headmaster

Re: No matter how much bandwidth you generate

Why do people feel the need apostophise acronyms? What is wrong with "LOLs"?

(The fact your post was largely drivel is a seperate issue.)

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Re: No matter how much bandwidth you generate

@Flugal: "Why do people feel the need apostophise acronyms?"

Agreed about the apostrophes, it seems a very odd practice. It's a form of greengrocer's apostrophe. While we're enjoying some pedantry, I personally wouldn't regard LOL as an acronym, as I pronounce it letter-by-letter (EL-OH-EL) rather than as a single word ("lol" to rhyme with "doll" or perhaps with "coal"). In that case it's an abbreviation rather than an acronym. Just saying, and others may pronounce it as a single word anyway.

(No doubt there are errors in the above paragraph, and I will get the usual fate of pedants of being hoist by my own petard.)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No matter how much bandwidth you generate

And why is it always the public schools boys who give a shit?

Grow up ladies.

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Re: No matter how much bandwidth you generate

Just the two spelling mistakes: "apostrophise" and "separate".

4/10 See me...

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“Which is why EE, when it launched its 4G proposition two weeks ago, also said it would offer fibre optic connections to 11 million UK properties by the end of 2013."

I suspect this is more a case of LLU BT Infinity and not actually dong the hard work of laying cable.

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I'd think so too. If EE had to do their own network to the premises via whatever means... well, maybe it would have something in a few years time.

I'm not sure if BT do LLU with FTTC, I'd be stunned if they allowed other companies to pop up even more roadside cabinets, but they could always interface at the exchange.

I think the more fibre the merrier.

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@HMB

It depends on how you define unbundling.

If unbundling means buying the line rental and service from another provider then yes you can (technically BT Infinity is doing this).

If unbundling means the taking the non-CPE end of the fibre, and plugging it into the providers equipment at the exchange, and them being able to set the rates they charge for everything, I don't believe so. Its probably not worth it for FTTC, otherwise the green cabinets would likely have to be huge to facilitiate the infrastructure of multiple providers.

In reality, What is likely is that EE will use dark-fibre agreements with Virgin and Openreach to facilitiate getting the data to and from the towers.

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BT FTTC & LLU

Yes they do. I have FTTC (60Mbits down) and it is not with BT.

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Re: BT FTTC & LLU

Sorry Steve, but LLU doesn't just mean another company sells you the product.

In ADSL land, LLU is where your ISP has equipment in your BT exchange. This early hop over basically means that the only bit of BT's network an LLU ADSL line has to go through is just the copper to your house. No network shaping, no data fees from BT, just the copper.

Again, with ADSL, you can have completely different connection methods, Wholesale Broadband Connect, IPStream are a couple. This is where BT relays the connection from an exchange, over BT's network to the ISP's network. The ISP has much less control.

As far as I'm aware, FTTC is only available on a wholesale basis, no exchange hookups for it yet. I'm always interested to get new info on this though.

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FAIL

Been here before?

"It's easy to imagine a Virgin Mobile 4G network, using Small Cells in customer homes and bolted to lamp posts around the cities"

Anybody remember Rabbit?

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TRT
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Re: Been here before?

Yes. It died of mixin' its phone sys.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Been here before?

Me and my parents both had Rabbit. Marvellous cordless phones (for the era), with the benefit that you could make calls from them when out and about, and better still, nobody could call you.

Probably still got two sets in the loft. What am I bid?

Perhaps more relevantly, has anybody anywhere (cf EE) ever had BT's out and about WiFi actually connect to the Interwebs? Even if my WiFi analyser sees the SSID, I can never actually get a connection. Why would it be different just because it's EE or Virgin?

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Re: Been here before?

You sir, are a comedy genius

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jai
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Re: Been here before?

another comedy winner from TRT !!

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Pint

Re: Been here before?

"Yes. It died of mixin' its phone sys."

It maybe 20+ years in the making but it was worth the wait, even if it is groan worthy.

@Ol'peculier Rabbit couldn't do cell handover, nor could you receive a call whilst out and about. That won't effect Virgin but you're right in alluding to the same problem of coverage.

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Is it 90 MB/sec until you actually download something, then they'll throttle it to 256KB/sec?

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I blame Ofcom

VM's advertise-high-speeds-then-cap-after-10-minutes business model would not be possible were there an effective regulator to answer to. ISPs have been getting away with brazen scams for years now at absolutely no consequence. The only time we even hear of Ofcom is when there's radio spectrum to auction. This pikey little quango needs to be dismantled and retrospectively investigated before we'll see common decency in the comms industry.

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Anonymous Coward

let's not be too harsh

let's say.. managed for even load distribution to guaranteed total satisfaction of all bandwidth users, generating, at random tests, speeds of up to 90Mbps*

*never mind the average speed of 1Mbs peak, 4Mbps off-peak, tops.

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" isn't even sharing its UK 4G exclusive with its own brands, Orange and T-Mobile. So it is unlikely to let an upstart MVNO get any 4G goodness in the 1800MHz band it owns."

EE IS Orange and T-Mobile, just because it is not selling 4G under those brand names doesn't really mean that it is not sharing 4G with those brands. I guess at a stretch you could say that Orange and T-Mobile are logically MVNOs of EE, but really they are just brands. It is a bit like saying Toyota aren't going to allow Lexus to release their GT86 as a Lexus product.

Please also check out :

http://www.computerworlduk.com/news/mobile-wireless/3400064/virgin-media-in-talks-with-ee-over-launching-4g-services/

a recent news story you seem to have missed.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Orange and T-Mobile are indeed bits of EE, but customers currently with either brand will need to "upgrade" to an EE contract to get 4G connectivity.

As for the Computerworld report, I did see it, but don't believe EE will share its monopoly even if Virgin says it is "in discussions".

Bill.

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You Believe

Bill,

Of course this is just your opinion and not based on any real factual information on the situation. If you know something the rest of don't, please feel free to share.

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FAIL

It's Virgin Media FFS

Even if they did offer 4G, they'd screw it up.

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Re: It's Virgin Media FFS

*looks around surreptiously, noticing he may be alone*

Am I the only one who has Virgin Media TV, Internet (including SuperHub), home phone and mobile and actually never has a problem with it?

I take it back, once I paid for a PPV movie (Serendipity before people start raising eyebrows) and it stopped mid-movie, and I phoned up (on my Virgin home phone), got a refund, and a replay of it for free the next night.

Is it really just me? I was actually thinking if Virgin sell pico-cells (as hinted at in the article), I would probably buy one now because my new house is in a poor reception area for any mobile network, 4G or not.

Really?

Am I alone in this?

I'll get me coat...

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Re: It's Virgin Media FFS

@Lee Dowling

You're not alone... well...

I had a great experience with Virgin Media too, but the R36 firmware screwed up my network until I set the Superhub into modem only mode. I'll let that slide as they gave me money back and I could sort it out myself.

The basic service was excellent and the fastest thing I've ever used.

Re: Pico Cells

I thought this too. I love it. The idea that new equipment could be issused to replace SuperHubs that has an in built cell. They could have a large network very quickly. It's this sort of heterogeneous network that LTE was designed to accomodate too!

Before the radiocancer brigade start up, if the pico cells were limited to say 4 watts power, it would be about the same as your own mobile phone, except you wouldn't hold up a pico cell transmitter to your head, like you do a mobile phone.

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Re: It's Virgin Media FFS

I've had Virgin Media for TV, internet & phone for more than four years now, and mostly very happy with it. We have the odd problem now and then (such as router going down for no cause every few days, sound sometimes not working on CBBC first thing) but it's mostly pretty minor stuff. I've seldom had cause to call customer services though, and when I have I've regretted it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's Virgin Media FFS

Nope top service has been for ages.

30mb broadband and landline for £20.50 with a bit of negotiating.

Super-hub was a one off £20.

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Pirate

Re: It's Virgin Media FFS

@LeeDowling,

Some virgin hater didn't downvote your post. i did.

HAH

why?

cos i live in a non-cable area you *&*&^%%%

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Boffin

Re: It's Virgin Media FFS: Don't Compare Apples with Watermelons

What you guys are talking about are Femtos, these are typically 25-250mW covering a house or a cafe.

Next up are Picos which are typically 1W and would cover an office or something like a Next store.

The 4W you mention would be a Micro which would be more likely to cover a warehouse or a street or village. Unless you guys have big houses, you really don't want a 4W coverage booster in it!

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Unhappy

90 gig?

good for them

Now they've proved it works, can they re-assign the engineers to fix their poxy routing troubles

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Stop

Fibre ?

Quite a poorly researched article, full of assumptions and heresay. Peer review generally works for these sort of articles - try it, you may even find it useful.

EE will be using Fibre based products to the consumer, but basically resell of BT FTTx products. The idea that they will suddently invest £Bn's into digging up the street whilst integrating 2 legacy networks, overbuilding for 4G services and managing its confusing brand image is unpracticle at best.

Small cells are based on millimetre radio i.e. 60GHz and above and will require inovative backhaul solutions, which is where the fixed line operators come into play. Trials of this nature are very useful, in that it proves a technology and highlights potential issues - kick the tyres if you will.

Fibre to a lampost coming to you quite soon.

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3G not 4G

It's not 4G unless it hits 100Mbps. So really shouldn't the title say "Virgin ramps 3G to a whopping 90Mb..."?

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Re: 3G not 4G

http://3gpp.org/LTE

If you read the actual Standards Body own documentation, it never actually refers to 4G. This is a lazy marketing term. The current LTE rollouts are based on 3GPP Release 8, which was stabilised in 2008.

It is fair to refer to this trial as LTE / 4th Generation though, as it is an all IP network evolving toward LTE-Advanced, which will bring the rates you desire. 3G is not an all IP network, plus there are major architectural differences between UMTS and LTE. LTE is far flatter, which is good, because apart from speeds and feeds, things like latency and jitter will improve over time.

Release 11 and beyond are still in development though. There is always a lag between standards and real world roll outs.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 3G not 4G

@boony

Open the curtains, walk towards the door and open it, there is a real world out there.............

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Happy

Re: 3G not 4G

Funny guy

I do very much live in the "real world" and don't usually comment on message boards. The engineer in me feels compelled to comment when sweeping comments or generalisations are used, or when heresay or speculation is passed off as journalism.

Been around the mobile and fixed industry for 20 years now, so bit of a pet subject of mine to say the least. My current allegience is with Virgin Media, just so I am clear and not hiding behind a nick name.

And for the guy who thinks it was "just for show", VM Business will be offering the product on a wholesale basis to mobile operators. The trial was important mainly for the technical viability information it gave. The publicity is always a welcome bonus though :o)

Link below:

http://www.techweekeurope.co.uk/news/virgin-media-business-small-cell-wholesale-94294

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 3G not 4G

Just joking buddy :)

I simply found my mind starting to fail as I read your post :D

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Meh

Virgin did this for public consumption

In my many years in communications I have been involved in telecoms switch-overs from Central Office (telephone 'exchanges'), to civilian toll networks and the military Autovon system and never was one done during so potential users could 'see' it.

Obviously Virgin did it for the publicity, which was both effective and cheap.

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VM user here

In over 2 years i've only had less than 50 MBps (thats 5.9 MB/s) once. It was a network outage and was credited the full monthly payment for being without t'internet for 6 hours

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