O2 has outlined its plans to catch up with 3G rivals Orange and Vodafone by rolling out what it claims will be Europe's first super-fast 3G mobile data network.
The operator said that its forthcoming 3G network will incorporate high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) technology and Internet Protocol Multimedia services.
However, O2 would not provide a firm date as to when this infrastructure was due to go live, saying only that a trial would be launched next summer at its Manx Telecom subsidiary on the Isle of Man.
According to O2, HSDPA will allow consumers and businesses to experience mobile data services at speeds equivalent to those enjoyed by fixed broadband networks.
Based on technology from Lucent, the network builds on previous live trials of early 3G on the Isle of Man conducted by O2's holding company mmO2.
The HSDPA-enabled network will initially offer data speeds of 3.6Mbps, limited only by the capability of current-generation handsets, but will ultimately support data speeds of up to 14.4Mbps, the operator claimed.
Dave Williams, group chief technology officer at O2, said: "We established the first fully-operational 3G European network on the Isle of Man at the end of 2001, were the first network to launch GPRS and have more SMS usage on our network than anyone else."
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