The launch of 4G in the UK at the 800MHz frequency from major mobile operators like O2, Vodafone and Three will affect around 90,000 homes’ Freeview digital TV reception when the services are switched on in the coming months.
While that number might seem like a lot, Ofcom in February 2012 estimated that up to 2.3 million (PDF) homes could be affected by the switch on of 4G LTE services using this band. EE, which has been operating a 4G network since the end of last year, uses the 1800MHz band of spectrum that does not interfere with Freeview broadcasts.
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The 90,000 figure was announced by at800, the consumer arm of the Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited (DMSL) group tasked with ensuring people continue to receive free-to-air television, on Thursday.
“If national rollout reflects the results seen during its tests, at800 expects no more than 90,000 households, with Freeview as their primary TV service, to experience disruption caused by 4G at 800 MHz,” the organisation said.
The at800 group said it has also now started sending out postcards to households in and around London likely to be affected by the switch on of services or those close to a 4G 800MHz mast. However, it notes that London itself should be fine.
“In London, in particular, Freeview received from the Crystal Palace transmitter is unlikely to be affected by mast activation because of the strong terrestrial television signal and its relatively large frequency separation from 4G at 800 MHz,” at800 said.
If you are one of the unlucky few that will still be affected, chances are that the problem will be easily solved by fitting a filter, though for rooftop-level installations an engineer visit may be necessary.
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