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4G interference test kicks off in London next week

Jennifer Scott

London will be the next test bed for whether 4G signals interfere with Freeview television, it was confirmed today.

Concerns have been raised by Ofcom that running 4G services over 800MHz spectrum – which was auctioned off earlier this year by the regulator – could interrupt the signals of Freeview, which runs on the nearby 700MHz band. Ofcom warned that as many as 2.2 million homes could be affected.

As a result, it tasked the Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited – made up of the UK’s major mobile operators – and its subsidiary at800 to run pilots and test the impact of 4G services on Freeview, as well as support homes that needed help combating the interference.   

An initial trial was carried out in the West Midlands across an area covering 22,000 homes and showed just 15 residences complaining of issues that could be blamed on 4G.

However, as it was a small scale test, both at800 and Ofcom said the findings were not conclusive and more tests needed to be carried out.

Now the mobile-operator funded organisation has confirmed a much larger pilot will be carried out across the south east of London. Around 170,000 homes and businesses will be subject to the trial in parts of Greenwich, Lewisham, Southwark and Tower Hamlets when the testing kicks off on Monday, 15 April.

Simon Beresford-Wylie, chief executive of at800, said: “These larger tests are essential to help improve our forecast model and the way we’ll tackle potential issues caused by 4G at 800 MHz. We are extremely grateful to viewers in south east London for their help with these important tests.”

Residents have been written to and asked that if they experience any issues with their Freeview to call 0333 31 31 800 to report it. At800 then promises to fix the problem as soon as possible.

The West Midlands trial ran for two weeks but at800 has yet to confirm to Computer Weekly how long this latest test will be carried out for.


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