Ofcom has done the decent thing by bringing the 4G LTE spectrum auction forward to January 2013, but there is still plenty for both them and the networks to do in order for everything to be ready once the time comes to launch the high-speed network.
One such task is to ensure 4G’s use of the 800MHz bandwidth doesn’t cause problems for television signals. The concern is that once 4G is switched-on, it could cause TV interference problems for some Freeview viewers, so EE, Vodafone, Three and O2 have all come together to find and fund a solution.
The resulting company is named Digital Mobile Spectrum Ltd, and it exists to help those whose TV is affected by 4G interference, by providing signal filters of varying strength to cancel out the interference, all the way up to paying for a switch to another digital TV provider.
Ofcom has said that networks who win a chunk of the 800Mhz spectrum during the auction will be expected to financially contribute to the scheme. The formation of the company is another important step to getting 4G up and running in the UK, and is another example of the mobile networks pulling together to make it happen.
It’s only the 800MHz bandwidth that could cause problems, and not by the 2.6GHz band or by EE’s 1800MHz 4G network, and only in certain areas too. It’s estimated 2.3 million homes could be affected, but only 900,000 “rely on Freeview” according to Ofcom. The regulator has said those that could have problems will be sent an information pack prior to 4G’s launch.