Digital Spy

Search Digital Spy
0

Tech News

4G mobile operators to address Freeview TV interference

By
All the UK's major mobile operators have agreed a new deal to further speed up the launch of 4G networks, involving the creation of a new company to tackle the expected interference with Freeview TV signals.

4G interference with digital terrestrial TV signals has been a key factor for the government and Ofcom in advancing the largest auction of spectrum for mobile phone services ever conducted in the UK.

Image of a button being pressed on a TV remote control

© stock.xchng

Watching TV

© Rex Features



This is because up to 2.3m homes in Britain could be left with a "blank screen" due to interference on the TV picture after the 4G mobile services launch next year.

Signals could be affected because the 800MHz spectrum to be auctioned off by Ofcom to enable 4G sits alongside the 700MHz spectrum used for Freeview. It is thought that households within a 2km radius of a 4G mast are most likely to suffer signal disruption.

Deployment of 4G services in other frequency bands, such as 1800Mhz or 2.6Ghz, does not require similar measures to be put in place.

A £180m fund was previously announced by the government to address the issues, including the provision of special filters to be fitted to Freeview equipment of affected homes, but TV industry bodies had warned that this didn't go far enough.

Everything Everywhere (EE), Telefónica UK (owner of O2), Three and Vodafone have now agreed a deal with culture secretary Maria Miller and Ofcom to formally set up a jointly controlled company, called Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited (MitCo).

MitCo will be responsible for ensuring that consumers can continue to receive clear Freeview TV signals following the roll out of 4G mobile services in the 800MHz spectrum band from the Spring of next year.

Andrew Pinder, the chairman of premium phone services regulator PhonePay Plus, has been appointed interim chair of MitCo.

"This is an excellent response by all mobile operators to the Minister's challenge to set up this company as quickly as possible," he said.

"It represents a real milestone and I will continue to work with all of the mobile operators and other stakeholders to get plans in place for the rapid launch of 4G services on the spectrum to be auctioned next year."

Samsung Galaxy 3 Mobile Phone displayed at the Samsung Galaxy 3 Mobile Phone launch at Earls Court Exhibition Center, London

© Rex Features / Ray Tang

A customer tests the new iPhone 5 at the Apple store in Hong Kong

© PA Images / Kin Cheung/AP



Creating MitCo enables the mobile operators to further accelerate 4G services next year.

The body will be funded by the successful bidders for the 800MHz spectrum in the forthcoming auction, who will automatically be made shareholders in MitCo.

Culture secretary Maria Miller recently brokered a pace deal between the operators to ensure 4G services over the 800Mhz spectrum previously used by analogue television could roll out earlier than expected next summer.

Vodafone and O2 had been left outraged by media regulator Ofcom's decision to allow EE to offer 4G from this month, by reusing its existing 1800Mhz spectrum.

Under the initial plan, this would have given EE a year-long headstart in the 4G market, but that has since been cut to around six months, enabling the warring operators to put aside their differences.

"The roll-out of 4G is a huge step forward for mobile broadband services in the UK, and will be incredibly important in driving economic growth," culture secretary Maria Miller said.

"I am pleased that the mobile operators will be working together to ensure that no viewers lose their television services when 4G is rolled out, and congratulate them on setting up the assistance scheme so quickly."

Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards added: "This is further evidence of the progress that is being made by the industry, guided by Ofcom, to deliver 4G mobile services across the UK.

"The 4G auction is already on track to begin at the end of the year and the creation of Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited ahead of time represents yet another step towards bringing consumers early access to the next generation of mobile broadband services."

Separate to the auction, EE will start offering 4G services over its 1800Mhz network on October 30 and is already selling a range of compatible smartphones, including Apple's iPhone 5 and Samsung's Galaxy S3.

> Apple iPad Mini launch event announced for October 23
> Apple iPad Mini 'WiFi-only', 4G iPad coming to the UK, report claims

You May Like

Comments

Loading...