EE, O2, Three, Vodafone and Ofcom form Digital Mobile Spectrum
The UK’s biggest networks, EE, O2, Three and Vodafone along with Ofcom have formed an alliance to limit the impact of 4G services on digital television reception and formed a new company, Digital Mobile Spectrum (DMS).
The new company aims to ensure customers continue to receive Freeview TV signals without impact from LTE networks.
Ofcom explained in June that, due to the proximity of the 800MHz spectrum to the frequencies used for digital terrestrial television broadcasting, signals from mobile base stations could interfere with set top boxes and digital televisions.
This could potentially affect up to three percent of viewers if no measures were put in place to solve the problem.
Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited will be responsible for mitigating interference in a number of ways, including fitting filters to viewers’ TV aerials, providing information and help to consumers and in some cases helping them to change platforms.
The company will be funded by the successful bidders for 800MHz spectrum in the forthcoming auction. Provisions have been put in place to make sure that if any other party acquires some of this spectrum in the auction they can immediately become a shareholder in the company.
DMS was formed following the turmoil with O2 and Vodafone over the early offering of 4G mobile network to EE.
However, the networks are now pursuing their own preparation towards 4G.
The new company will be headed in the interim by PhonepayPlus chairman, Andrew Pinder.
Culture Secretary Maria Miller made the following statement:
“The rollout of 4G is a huge step forward for mobile broadband services in the UK, and will be incredibly important in driving economic growth,” said Miller after the DMS announcement. “I am pleased that the mobile operators will be working together to ensure that no viewers lose their television services when 4G is rolled out, and congratulate them on setting up the assistance scheme so quickly.”
Andrew Pinder added, “This is an excellent response by all mobile operators to the Minister’s challenge to set up this company as quickly as possible. It represents a real milestone and I will continue to work with all of the mobile operators and other stakeholders to get plans in place for the rapid launch of 4G services on the spectrum to be auctioned next year.”