UK set to finalise release of 4G-suitable 800MHz spectrum

30 Jul 2013

UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has announced that a four-year process aimed at releasing frequencies suitable for 4G mobile broadband will be completed tomorrow, a development which it says would ‘[clear] the path for new superfast wireless broadband services in the UK’. Digital UK, which led the implementation of digital TV switchover from 2008-2012 and during 2013 oversaw the clearance of terrestrial TV services from the 800MHz band, issued a statement confirming the progress of the project. Noting that Freeview channels in parts of the UK began moving to new frequencies to allow for the future roll-out of 4G mobile services in February 2012, it confirmed that the final engineering works are being carried out in north-east Scotland and the Western Isles, some five months ahead of the original timetable. The clearance programme, Digital UK noted, has seen signals realigned at more than 270 transmitters, serving one-in-four homes.

As a result of the work mobile companies will be allowed to launch 4G services to UK customers using the cleared frequencies after Ofcom auctioned 800MHz spectrum for use by operators looking to offer 4G services in February 2013.

Commenting on the development, Ed Richards, Ofcom 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.’

United Kingdom, Ofcom