New Outfit Ensures 4G Rollout Won’t Affect Freeview TV

Mike Wheatley

The UK’s push for 4G mobile broadband connectivity has been given a big boost this week, with four of the nation’s biggest mobile phone operators joining forces to speed up adoption of the 800MHz spectrum while making sure that Freeview TV services will not be disrupted.

Freeview TV
New outfit ensures 4G rollout won’t affect Freeview TV

EE, Three, Telefonica O2 and Vodafone announced the creation of a new company – Digital Mobile Spectrum – which will dedicate itself to ensuring that 800MHz services roll out on time. The 800MHz spectrum is currently the domain of Freeview digital terrestrial television transmission, but the plan is for it to be cleared early next year, making way for 4Gs introduction as soon as May 2013.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller, speaking on behalf of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Ofcom, and the four operators, said that “The 4G rollout is a big step forward for the UK’s mobile broadband services, and will play an important role in driving economic growth in the country.”

“I’m delighted that mobile companies are able to work alongside each other to make this happen, and ensure that no TV viewer’s Freeview services are affected when 4G is launched. I congratulate them on setting up Digital Mobile Spectrum so fast.”

The operators were advised to set up Digital Mobile Spectrum by Ofcom and the culture department following recent high-level talks on boosting the UK’s 4G services.

Digital Mobile Spectrum will be funded by successful bidders in the upcoming 800MHz auction, which is due to take place early next year. Should an operator that’s not currently part of the new company buy a share of the spectrum, it would immediately be allowed to join the new company as a shareholder.

EE (parent of T-Mobile and Orange), Telefonica (parent of O2), Three and Vodafone have experience in this kind of close cooperation before, having previously worked together in their Mobile Experience Group, a project that worked to ensure no problems with mobile services during the London Olympics.