O2 have announced they are trialling 4G (LTE – Long Term Evolution) mobile internet access in London. The trial, which will run for the next nine months, will see O2 equip hundreds of consumers, businesses and venue owners with the latest 4G technology and give exclusive access to the first and largest urban 4G network in the UK.

Over 25 4G sites will go live across London this month, finishing June 2012, from Hyde Park to The O2 in Greenwich and will cover key areas of the capital, including Canary Wharf, Soho, Westminster, South Bank and Kings Cross. People on the trial will use Samsung B3730 mobile broadband dongles (supporting speeds of up to 100Mbps) as well as 4G personal wireless hotspots and handsets from a number of other vendors which they’re clearly not ready to announce yet.

With the example of “a 500MB file could be as fast as under one minute, compared to over 5 minutes on 3G” I’m presuming that trialists aren’t data capped in any way, as with fast access to large downloads and HD streaming video the test network could be quickly swamped for capacity.

Ronan Dunne, Chief Executive Officer of Telefónica UK (O2), said:

Today’s launch of the UK’s first 4G London trial network demonstrates our commitment to delivering 4G to our customers at the earliest opportunity. The work we are doing now will lay the foundations for our commercial 4G network when it launches in the UK.