Troubled US manufacturer Motorola said Monday that it has launched an LTE trial network and testing lab in the UK.

The project, based in Swindon, has carried out standards compliant LTE calls during which high speed data services were streamed using Motorola’s LTE infrastructure operating in the 2.6GHz spectrum and a prototype LTE device.

Moto said its facilities will offer operators the ability to engage in LTE technology field trials and real world equipment testing, with the vendor able to host the core elements of the LTE network for operators that require a hosted LTE trial in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The vendor said its first commercial release of LTE solutions later this year will include products for the 700MHz and 2.6GHz spectrum bands to help operators increase coverage and capacity of their networks as they strive to meet the growing demand for mobile broadband services.

Economic gloom does not appear to have dampened operator enthusiasm for LTE, with analysts recently forecasting more than $8.6bn to be spent on the technology over the next five years.

More than 18 operators worldwide have announced LTE deployment plans, with many looking at a 2011-2012 timeframe for rollout. However, US carrier Verizon Wireless has announced acceleration of its LTE plans, bringing the launch forward from 2010 to 2009.

ABI Research senior analyst Nadine Manjaro, said, “ABI Research believes that NTT will also deploy LTE in Japan in 2009. We forecast that by 2013 operators will spend over $8.6bn on LTE base station infrastructure alone. For operators that have already deployed 3G networks, LTE will be a key CAPEX driver over the next five years.”

ABI also believes that LTE application development will also drive investment as operators work to determine which services to deploy on this high speed, low latency network.

It’s known that Verizon is planning to provide third party access to its GPS data for example. “The resulting new applications will tie mobility and presence aspects together to create more compelling services than in the past,” said Manjaro. “This is significant because it represents the beginning of a new generation of application development which will leverage the vast amounts of data in operators’ networks.”