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700 MHz spectrum in UK ready for mobile in 2022
Wednesday 19 November 2014 13:33:05 by Andrew Ferguson

The next wave Digital TV and mobile spectrum re-allocation has been planned for sometime and Ofcom now claims to have secured the future of both TV and mobile broadband with a plan that will see the 700 MHz band turned over to the mobile operators in 2022.

This shift is not just an Ofcom initiative, it is something that should take place across the EU and while it will be too late to help with the EU Digital Agenda targets it will happen just at the point where 4G services will be eight to ten years old and suffering the same capacity problems like 3G does now, and we may see more spectrally efficient 5G services running at these speeds (most lab demonstrations of 5G have been in the multi-GHz bands but techniques may help improve speeds even at lower frequencies).

The 700 MHz band is important because you can use less mobile masts to cover the same area and thus it makes it cheaper to serve rural parts of the UK. With the UK now already using Digital TV there should be less disruption from this shift as even today many FreeView devices can cope, Ofcom does estimate some 0.5% (~135,000 households) may need help to change roof-top aerials from 2019 onwards. Of course the idea of a TV aerial may feel very 20th Century by 2022 if IPTV based TV viewing continues growing in popularity.


Posted by prlzx over 2 years ago
There's generally a trade off with 700MHz having longer reach but lower throughput (than say 5GHz)

but that can be more about how big are the slices of band handed out. 5MHz/10MHz are not much when shared out between multiple clients so as hinted chipsets that can do bonded 700MHz and 2.xGHz may be the thing.
Posted by prlzx over 2 years ago
UK Free TV (e.g. suggest Digital moving down out of the way during 2019:

(475 to 690 MHz) based on C21-48 for which some homes may need to check their antenna band again.
Posted by prlzx over 2 years ago
The comments about the end of (rf) broadcast TV raise a smile because we overlook the sheer bandwidth of a rooftop antenna.

Manchester currently receives ~ 170Mbit/s of multiplexes over the air due to increase by 98Mbit/s (and that is simultaneously to every antenna) which would take serious engineering and topology changes to do properly even on multicast.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 2 years ago
Yes the TV part starts in 2019 clearing the way so in 2022 its free for mobile. The 2019 is mentioned in respect to aerials in article.

Retuning a freeview box while not an everyday task is something people do every now and then as channels shuffle around.

How much of the bandwidth used is actually watched at any time? Viewing figures for some channels are very low.
Posted by TheEulerID over 2 years ago
The problem with reusing TV frequencies is that there's the potential of overloading local aerial amplifiers in weak signal areas as they were designed to respond to the relevant frequencies and could saturate. It can be overcome, at least to some extent, by putting a cut-off filter between the aerial and the amplifier, but not so easy with a masthead amp.
Posted by TheEulerID over 2 years ago
As for how much of the bandwidth is "watched" at any time, I suspect all of it. It doesn't matter if it's 1 viewer or a million. It's being watched. Also, multiple channels are multiplexed onto the same channel, and it's not possible to reuse part of one.

As for where it's "economically efficient" in the jargon to provide little watched video channels, that's a slippery slope which ends up with everything sold to the highest bidder whatever the other social factors.
Posted by whitcop over 2 years ago
Does this mean that all the UHF channels above Ch 50 will disappear (it starts at 503MHz)? I only wonder as my TV repeater uses Chs 55 upward and I was thinking of replacing my ariel but if its going to change I'll have to wait to see what group it will be.
Posted by michaels_perry over 2 years ago
The 700 MHz band will not be 'ready' until at least 2019 as all the current Freeview transmissions have to be moved - yet again.Viewers are heartily fed up with having to retune so often, more than Andrew is suggesting. As technical contributor to YK Free TV websire, I am only too aware of the problems and complaints from viewers.
There is no benefit to them but the mobile ops can make more money - that's what it's all about. That other parets of Europe are doing it is irrelevant.
Posted by Hubz over 2 years ago
It makes sense:
Mobile Data is growing: shifting RF spectrum from TV to Data to leverage the mobility makes sense as conversely TV to the home is moving towards wired Internet delivery through IPTV and Multicast plus of course satellite platforms.
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