Freeview TV signal under threat from 4G

You could lose your Freeview TV sound and picture - even entire channels, some predict - in the next few weeks as mobile phone companies switch on new 4G masts. 3 Mobile, 02 and Vodafone are all ramping up their testing regimes in preparation for rolling out the new technology.

Ofcom is worried. Who could be affected?

No signal?

It is difficult to tell as the situation will depend on the quality of your TV signal, the age of your equipment, and how close you are to a 4G mast. Many 4G masts will operate at an 800mhz frequency, very close to the 700mhz band taken by Freeview.

EE, which has already launched 4G operations, uses the 1800mhz frequency - which raises EE clear of the Freeview TV band by some margin.

"When the 800 MHz spectrum starts being used for mobile services," Ofcom has said in a statement, "they will be close in frequency to the spectrum used for digital terrestrial television (DTT). This means that there will be potential interference from mobile base stations."

Potentially up to two million people could suffer Freeview reception and sound issues. However At800, the company tasked with ensuring that problems are minimised, claims the figure is much lower.

Filter solution

"If national rollout reflects the results seen during its tests, At800 expects no more than 90,000 households with Freeview as their primary TV service," it says, "to experience disruption caused by 4G at 800 MHz."

If you suffer from picture or sound disruption, At800 will send you a filter in the post. If that doesn't solve the problem "it may be worth," the company says, "seeing if it is viable to move you to an alternative TV platform such as free satellite or cable services."

"Alternatively, it may be of more value to see if there are improvements to your existing TV aerial installation that are likely to restore Freeview, such as replacing old or misaligned aerials and improving coaxial cabling between your antenna and receiver."

A good swathe of Freeview customers though are elderly with some taking the service following the switch-off of the old analogue broadcasting signal. If you do have problems, contact At800 for advice.

Beware the small print

Beware the small print

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