The 4G auction process has not yet officially begun but news has broken that more than 2 million homes may have their Digital Terrestrial Television ( DTT ) signals affected once new 4G masts have been installed - sending out 4G radio waves to 4G phones and 4G tablets.
It has been stated by the Government, that any 4G mobile operator offering its 4G mobile service via the 800MHz frequency band is likely to cause interference to digital TV reception ( around 700MHz ) in homes near 4G masts. This may affect DTT TV users of Freeview, Top-Up TV and BT Vision who live nearby a 4G transmission mast. The total cost to the government to correct this will be 180 million pounds, but of course the government will receive between 1.5 billion pounds and four billion pounds for the 4G licences that they are selling to the mobile operators.
It is estimated that up to two million households may suffer some interference while some 500 homes closest to a 4G mast may have a TV blackout – no TV reception at all. The 500 homes worst affected will need to be reconnected to the television network at a cost of £10,000 pounds per household whilst others will be given a “filter box” to eliminate the interference.
4G in the 800MHz frequency band will launch no sooner than May 2013, so the Government has over 6 months to prepare for this. The Government has appointed Digital UK and Arquiva to look at the issue of 4G TV interference with DTT and to resolve any consumer issues.
EE’s recent 4G launch in 11 cities so far and 16 cities by 2013 should not cause any 4G interference with homes receiving DTT as it is nowhere near the frequency used by DTT ( 700 MHz ) - EE use the 1800 MHz frequency band.