4G licence bidders may have to pay for digital TV filters

Summary:The telecoms regulator Ofcom has proposed solutions for dealing with interference between 4G mobile broadband and digital TV, arguing that 4G licence holders will have to bear the brunt of the costs

Operators bidding for 4G spectrum in the UK may have to take into account the cost of providing filters to mitigate interference with digital TV signals, Ofcom has said.

Ofcom sign

Ofcom has hinted that operators bidding for 4G spectrum in the UK may have to take into account the cost of providing filters to mitigate interference with digital TV signals. Photo credit: Jon Yeomans

On Thursday, the telecoms regulator laid out proposals for dealing with the interference between 800MHz mobile broadband and digital terrestrial television (DTT), which occupies the adjacent spectrum band. The regulator reckons that up to three percent of DTT viewers might suffer interference, if no measures are taken to counteract the problem.

Ofcom's proposed solution would involve filters fitted to TV aerials, blocking mobile broadband signals and clearing the way for digital television signals. According to the regulator, this approach "should solve most of the interference cases", and should be accompanied by "a scheme to give information and help to consumers".

Further work is being carried out with government help to find out how much and what kind of customer support should be given, but Ofcom proposed that "the majority of the costs should be borne by the future 800 MHz licensees". A new consultation into the issue will be published in the autumn.

800MHz is not the only band that will appear in next year's 4G spectrum auction — the 2.6GHz band will also be up for grabs, but 800MHz offers services that work over much greater distances, making it more attractive to mobile operators making the leap from 3G to the newer, faster standard.

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Topics: Networking, Mobility


David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't be paying many bills. His early journalistic career was spent in general news, working behind the scenes for BBC radio and on-air as a newsreader for independent stations. David's main focus is on communications, of both... Full Bio

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