Isle of Man to activate world's first 3G network

The Isle of Man is used to motorbikes smashing speed restrictions during the annual TT Races. This year, the island will also see speed records broken on the world's first 3G mobile phone network.

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By  Rob Corder Published  May 1, 2001

The first 3G mobile phone network in the world will soon be up and running on the Isle of Man, a tiny island between mainland Britain and Northern Island, according to a report in The Register.

The high speed wireless network could provide a blueprint for compact Middle East countries like Bahrain and Qatar, which could cover the vast majority of their populations with small footprint networks.

The Isle of Man has its own telco monopoly in the form of Manx Telecom, which hopes to have the network ready by the end of May. That launch date was supposed to coincide with the annual TT motorbike races, but movement restrictions designed to contain foot-and-mouth disease have forced the races to be cancelled this year.

Unlike other European telcos, Manx Telecom did not have to pay huge amounts of money for a 3G licence, and its network only has to function in an area of 31 miles by 14 miles. There will be 70% coverage on the island, with foot-and-mouth disease restrictions preventing physical movement within the remaining 30%.

The Register says, however, that British Telecom, which owns Manx Telecom, has done everything "on the cheap" during the rollout of the network and hitches and outages are expected.

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