4G Mobile Service – Major TV interference in Oxford

Now that the switch to digital TV is complete, the government have decided to use some of the spare frequency spectrum for ‘fourth Generation’ (4G) mobile services. This will give users of smart phones much faster mobile broadband. However, the frequencies that are going to be used are directly adjacent to current freeview TV signals and there will be lots of interference to TV channels!
The auction for the available frequencies will probably be complete by February 2013 and the first roll-out of 4G is planned for later in 2013. Initially it will cover Britain’s major cities. (Rural areas are unlikely to benefit for a while.)

How bad will the interference be?

We do not know what the scale of the problem will be. The power of the new signals will be much greater than we have seen before and in Oxford particularly the frequency channels being used (including channel 61) is right next to the Oxford ITV frequency (Channel 60). The effect will vary depending on how close your house is to a 4G transmitter. We don’t know yet where they will all be.

What will the Government do to help?

The Government have set up company called MitCo to deal with these issues. They will initially supply a simple in-line filter to any consumer who complains of interference. This will solve a proportion of the problems. But there are situations where this will not work. For example, the filter will need to be fitted in front of any amplifier on the aerial system and if you have an amplifier it may be in your loft or even on the roof! Then the filter will need to be installed by a professional installer. Mitco may issue a voucher to cover the cost of this but that has not yet been confirmed. If a filter doesn’t work, there will be a fund of government money to move some viewers over to Freesat. There is also a fund to assist the aged and vulnerable.

What about all of my bedroom TV's?

All of the government help will only apply to your main TV point. If you have additional TVs in the house, and most people now do, then you will have to get the others sorted out privately. OXFORD AERIALS will have a supply of filters to fit to your other TVs. If the filter doesn’t work on your main TV, then it looks as though Mitco will subsidise a switch to Freesat, but not so on your other TVs.
OXFORD AERIALS will have a stock of new aerials which are designed to NOT pick up the 4G signals. We will also have higher quality ‘super filters’ and screened sockets and leads where the problem is particularly bad. We hope we can always get a solution for you.

What about blocks of flats?

TV systems in blocks of flats will perhaps have the worst interference. These systems usually have a very large amplifier at the head of the system. These amplifiers can amplify TV signals by up to 1000 times before it is distributed around the block of flats. Signals will need to be properly filtered using professional grade filters before entering these powerful amplifiers.

4G is already advertised. Has it not started already?

The interfering signals won’t start until well into 2013. There is confusion because one company, ‘Everything Everywhere’ (EE), who own Orange and T–Mobile, have started advertising 4G services. EE have only been granted the use of the old 2G frequencies around 1800 MHz for a version of 4G. This will not cause problems with terrestrial digital freeview television.