UK regulators haven’t even announced the auction date for Britain’s 4G network coverage, and already it is costing operators hundreds of millions of pounds to ensure the new wireless networks don’t interfere with television signals, reports The Telegraph.
Communications Minister Ed Vaizey said that a fund has already been set up to collect money from mobile operators, which will go towards helping customers switch from satellite to digital television, fit a filter or in a worst case scenario, provide up to £10,000 per household to find a solution.
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In January, Ofcom, the UK regulatory body for the broadcasting and telecommunications industries, announced proposals that extend 4G coverage to at least 98% of the UK population, with revised plans to promote competition.
All of this will go towards an auction for the spectrum later this year, with new network services launching in 2013.
“Next generation mobile services are essential for economic growth. They will bring an estimated benefit of £2-3 billion to the UK economy,” said Mr Vaizey. “There will be some interference when 4G services are rolled-out but we will have the solutions in place to eliminate the disruption to television viewers,” he added.
The actual cost may run in under budget but mobile operators have said they will split the underspend with the Government, cutting their spectrum bids as a result.