Ofcom the telecommunications regulator has confirmed that it will use the 700MHz radio spectrum which is currently occupied by digital terrestrial TV signals such as Freeview to be used for the purposes of 5G mobile telephony.
With companies such as EE, and Vodafone only beginning to retail the brand new 4G mobile telephony services, a launch of 5G is still a few years away however the telecommunications regulator Ofcom has confirmed that it is beginning to test 5G services using the 700MHz radio spectrum.
As a result, digital television broadcasters will need to move to the 600MHz spectrum but not before 2018. The telecommunications regulator also confirmed that the “vast majority” of viewers will need to retune their equipment, whilst a “small minority” will need a new rooftop aerial.
The new launch of 4G is also expected to interfere with some digital television signals and mobile telephony operators have set aside £108 million to ensure that those affected will still be able to receive their digital television signal.
Ofcom is beginning to make preparations for 5G in light of the increased use of mobile telephony for the purposes of internet usage, and the regulator believes that by 2030 demand for mobile internet could be 80 times higher than it currently is today. People in Great Britain are currently consuming more than 20GB of data compared to 9GB a year ago.
By using the 700MHz spectrum, Ofcom hopes to bring Great Britain into line with other territories such as Europe, the Middle East and Africa and baseline the spectrum of the next generation of mobile telephony. The Current 4G network and equipment manufacturers have to contend with 10 different frequencies around the world.
Speaking of the changes and effect on the digital television in the UK, Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards said “Within the coming months we will hold the UK’s largest-ever auction of mobile spectrum for 4G,”
“However, that may not be enough to meet consumers’ future data demands, which is why we are already making significant efforts to prepare to go beyond 4G.”
“Our plans are designed to avoid a ‘capacity crunch’, ensuring that the UK’s mobile infrastructure can continue to support the inescapable growth in consumer demand and economic growth more generally.”
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