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Ofcom approves Everything Everywhere's use of 1800 MHz band for 4G
Tuesday 21 August 2012 10:04:32 by Andrew Ferguson

Ofcom has decided to vary the licence that governs what Everything Everywhere can do with the wireless spectrum it owns at 1800 MHz. In the interest of the consumer the firm is to be allowed to deploy LTE and WiMAX on its network from 11th September 2012.

The consultation has been lengthy, and competitors obviously raised objections that this move will give Orange and T-Mobile an early lead in the market place, until the 4G auctions by Ofcom actually conclude. Ofcom did some analysis and while this relaxation for Everything Everywhere will give them an early lead, they concluded that once other networks deploy their 4G systems things will rapidly level out. This is in part because the spectrum available to Everything Everywhere is just half of what is available in the auction at the 800 MHz and 2.6GHz frequency bands.

We can now expect Orange and T-Mobile to start marketing 4G dongles ahead of the roll-out, so that as soon as masts are switched on users can benefit. The long term question is whether 4G will simply turn into another race to congestion, which is what 3G turned out to be.

The level of demand for 4G services will depend initially on the price, but competition after the 4G auction is likely to drive this down, and if demand is high it will increase the pressure for the release of the 700 MHz spectrum, which can only be achieved by squeezing the Freeview TV signal. The integration of IPTV into Freeview set-top boxes is part of this longer term plan, and as an IP delivered video stream at 2 Mbps can produce a better picture than Freeview currently delivers and support many more HD channels, the shrinking of over the air Freeview to the core 6-8 channels seems certain.

Comments

Posted by aerobatic over 2 years ago
thats great news... and excellent timing for the iPhone 5 launch! (maybe...)

Does anyone know if the Ipad 3 (and presumably also the iPhone 5) are compatible with the Everything Everywhere 1800 mhz "4g" frequencies ?
Posted by paulster over 2 years ago
The iPad 3 does support 4G LTE but it only has support on the 700MHz band so it's pretty much useless in terms of LTE use. I couldn't comment on whether the iPhone 5 will have 1800MHz support or not as they probably designed the phone with the LTE bands that will come into most use but you may never know.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
1800MHz was already in use in places like Australia.

Apple just went with the frequencies that the mobile providers in US market used, ignoring world.
Posted by jchamier over 2 years ago
Correction - apple went with the *chips* they could buy off the page in volume - and those supported US LTE frequencies.

The reports are on other sites that Apple has bought Qualcomm's next LTE modem chip which is a lot lower power and will have more frequencies for world use.
Posted by paulster over 2 years ago
Stupid Apple, only doing the best for their own country and their own company while limiting the rest of the world. Greedy money grabbing company this is.
Posted by otester over 2 years ago
If you intend to use internet on your mobile you'll want Android tablet, good VPN/Torrent/Usenet capabilities.
Posted by herdwick over 2 years ago
http://mobile.engadget.com/2011/04/22/european-commission-mandates-lte-and-wimax-on-900mhz-and-1800mhz/ - the real government had already decided.
Posted by prlzx over 2 years ago
"an IP delivered video stream at 2 Mbps can produce a better picture than Freeview currently delivers and support many more HD channels"
Intersting line.

Readers should note, Winter Hill (NW) currently broadcasts 175Mbps (of which 40 is the HD multiplex using DVB-T2). The picture quality is determined by how many channels are put on each multiplex and how the encoder dynamically adjusts the share to each channel.
Posted by prlzx over 2 years ago
When the "local TV" multiplex goes ahead as planned this brings Winter Hill up to 8 multiplexes.

If there was a will to switch these to DVB-T2 (H.264) that is 320Mbps, and the 40Mbps per multiplex is not a hard limit you can do highter/lower capacity depending on tranmission "mode".

Even on current modes the single HD multiplex runs 4 to 6 HD channels so there would be room for 32-48 HD channels (more channels if some only choose to run as SD like now).
Posted by prlzx over 2 years ago
The tuner in your tv (or box or DVB card in your PC) tunes to a *whole multiplex* (frequency) at a time (even if you are only displaying one channel).

Depending on design each tuner can record a single channel, up to the whole multiplex at a time - no deconding/encoding is necessary to record the tranmission stream as recevied.

The trend is for 2 or more tuners so you can watch a channel from one multiplex while recording from another.
Posted by prlzx over 2 years ago
The point of all this is not to underestimate the capacity of DVB-T/T2

and the inherent efficiency of scale where the tranmission end is the same *irrespective of the number of receivers* and indeed, number of TVs in use per household.

For IPTV, multicast helps alot but it still needs more data sent down the pipe the more (different) channels are being watched at the same time.
Posted by prlzx over 2 years ago
Politically I expect a couple of multiplexes to be held back on DVB-T (24Mbps mode) to ensure designated core channels for mass of original receivers.
In SD only along with some radio streams.

If there had been a bold strategy had been to move directly to DVB-T2 / H.264 before the mass roll-out / promotion of freeview, this could have been avoided, and it was known *at the time* (same as with DAB) that they were choosing to roll out an outdated encoding standard.

I think this was partly due to MPEG2 decoding chips (already common in DVDs) making for cheaper STBs.
Posted by prlzx over 2 years ago
Streaming rates - couple of examples. Agni's Philosophy is ~3.5Mbps (similar to iPlayer HD?) to acheive this quality at 720p.
http://www.agnisphilosophy.com/en/
The 1080p version is ~5Mbps.

Whereas Crytek's demo uses 17Mbps at 1080p to achive the quality of the in the downloadable version.
http://mycryengine.com/index.php?conid=64&newsid=66

You can squeeze 720p into 2Mbps if you use a highly optimised multi-pass encoding (so not live) to preserve as much quality as possible. Not all scene / motion complexity suits this treatment.
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