Fewer problems than forecast with TV reception during first 4G test

The first live test to assess the impact of 4G signals on Freeview reception has been completed with less households than expected affected by interference problems. 

4G interference mitigation company at800 revealed that just fifteen households in the test area reported problems with TV reception caused by 4G. Before the test, at800’s forecasting model predicted 120 households would be affected. Amplifiers have been confirmed as being key to causing interference. Approximately 22,000 homes surrounding the 4G at 800 MHz masts were sent information in advance of the testing asking them to contact at800 directly if they experienced problems with Freeview, which uses frequencies just below the 800 MHz band in the test area. Over 100 calls were logged by at800 from these households. Professional aerial installers, as well as TV signal experts from at800, the BBC, and Ofcom, visited locations that reported problems to verify their cause.

The test was conducted because later this year, 4G mobile services will start using the 800 MHz frequency band previously assigned to terrestrial television services, with new 4G signals transmitting next to remaining Freeview services. Existing 4G services operated by EE are not responsible for TV interference.

All issues that could be attributed to 4G at 800 MHz were in television systems with signal amplifiers, either in communal blocks or domestic installations where the amplifier was attached to the aerial. A filter that blocks 4G signals at 800 MHz from reaching TV tuners resolved problems seen by viewers when installed between aerial and amplifier.  The filter does not affect the use of mobile phones.

Simon Beresford-Wylie, chief executive of at800, said "This was a useful, small-scale test. We’ll now improve our forecast model and look at the approach we use to tackle the issues we’ve seen. Further extensive evaluation will occur during April and May as masts are switched on for tests across larger urban areas."

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