Ofcom has given O2 the go-ahead to use its allocation of 900MHz frequencies for 3G. Previously, under Ofcom regulations, the frequencies were strictly reserved for 2G.
3G services normally use the 2.1GHz range. These lower 900MHz frequencies travel farther, effectively extending O2's 3G coverage.
Nigel Purdy, Chief Technology Officer with O2, beamed: "This... switch on is the latest in a series of network enhancements for O2, and is a first for the UK and Telefónica. We've acted quickly to bring the benefits of 3G over 900MHz spectrum to our customers and we're thrilled with the results. Quite simply, on O2's network, more customers can use more data, and experience it quicker."
O2 reckons the change increases its data network's capacity by 50%, with 30% faster downloads. However, only some of O2’s customers will notice the benefits.
Firstly, 900MHz 3G has only been enabled in select areas, namely London, Leeds, Birmingham and Manchester. More cities are set to follow “in the coming months”.
Also, your phone (or indeed tablet) has to be compatible. O2 specifically mentioned the iPhone 4 and iPad 2. HTC Desire and Samsung Galaxy S owners will also reap the rewards.
Vodafone, the only other operator in the UK that uses the 900MHz band, is expected to follow suit shortly.