Rumours about the imminent termination of mmO2's 3G trial on the Isle of Man have been firmly denied by both mmO2 and Manx Telecom. However, Simon Gordon, spokesman for mmO2 said, "The trial will not last indefinitely."
Although no date has yet been set for the end of the trial, the 3G networks being rolled out by mmO2 in Germany and Ireland are expected to supercede the Isle of Man when it comes to providing a learning experience for the group. According to Gordon, the Isle of Man trial has "been invaluable," but, he suggested, as the German and Irish networks use newer infrastructure equipment they would render the Isle of Man trial "redundant."
In line with licence conditions, a network covering 25% of the German population has to be in place by the end of the year and commercial service is expected around the same time. The experiences of achieving this and early service usage and network behaviour information will then be shared amongst the mmO2 group, as has been the case with the Isle of Man trial.
Similar, although less stringent conditions exist in Ireland, and combined, the real, commercial experiences of these two rollouts will take over, leaving the future of the Isle of Man network in the hands of Manx Telecom. Said Gordon, "This is the benefit of only having solely-owned companies in the group."
The end of the trial will not mark the end of 3G on the Isle of Man as Manx spokeswoman Christine Clucas explained, "The trial is going very well and we are evaluating the situation. There are certainly no plans to terminate the 3G network." Like much of Europe, the Isle of Man is likely to be offered a commercial service comprising both 2.5G and 3G technologies.