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The UK's first live trial of 4G long-term evolution (LTE) mobile broadband has been extended to the summer following an encouraging initial run.

BT and Everything Everywhere - the parent company of Orange and T-Mobile in the UK - will continue to test next-generation mobile services in Cornwall until June 2012.

During the trial, which commenced last October, the two companies have worked together to provide wireless broadband to 180 customers living in and around St Newlyn East.

An extension has now been granted by Ofcom to enable the broadband providers to continue to investigate the application of 4G LTE in rural areas.

The companies said this will be beneficial to the rollout of any potential subsequent commercial service.

"The trial is successfully demonstrating that fixed and mobile technologies can work together to provide a broadband delivery option for remote rural areas," BT and Everything Everywhere stated.

"It has also proven that the low frequency spectrum - such as 800MHz - allocated to this trial is optimal for enabling broadband in remote rural communities."

Before the trial, participating households and businesses struggled to achieve broadband speeds of 2Mb.

But equipped with 4G LTE broadband, they are now able to download at a rate of around 7Mb, meaning on-demand TV, HD video and VoIP services can now be used.

Nigel Stagg, Chief Executive at BT Wholesale, said LTE mobile broadband is already making "a real difference" in rural Cornwall.

"It could provide an alternative mode of delivery in rural areas to complement fibre delivered broadband," he suggested.

"There's no doubt that fixed line solutions offer a faster and more reliable broadband service, but there isn’t a single silver bullet to meet the rural broadband challenge."

Olaf Swantee, Chief Executive at Everything Everywhere, said the rollout of 4G will help drive economic growth and create jobs across the UK.

It will enable businesses to be more productive and allow consumers to benefit from the latest mobile innovations, he claimed.

"This trial has been key in investigating ways to rapidly bring 4G LTE to Britain, and Ofcom is helping us do the groundwork to accelerate the UK from laggard to leader," Mr Swantee added.

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