Ofcom says its four-year process to release digital TV and wireless microphone frequencies for 4G mobile broadband will be completed on Wednesday this week, five months earlier than originally planned.
Wireless microphones, which are often used at conferences and for theatre productions, have now been moved to different frequencies. In addition, TV transmitters and receivers across the UK have been retuned. The final TV retune will be completed on Wednesday by Freeview viewers in northern Scotland.
This will enable the 800MHz frequencies won in February’s 4G auction to be made available to the winners: Everything Everywhere, Telefónica UK, Three and Vodafone. Everything Everywhere has already launched 4G services using the 1800MHz frequency band.
Ed Richards, Ofcom’s Chief Executive, said “This week we are clearing the path for 4G mobile broadband, allowing mobile companies to provide coverage across the UK. 4G services will reach 98% of the UK population indoors – and even more when outdoors – which will provide a significant boost for rural businesses and consumers.”
The process for making the 2.6 GHz band available for 4G use is due to be completed in most areas by the autumn. It requires the upgrade of some air traffic control and radar systems in neighbouring frequency bands.