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back to article 3G at 2G frequencies edges closer in UK

Ofcom has laid out the legal changes that will permit 3G technology at 2G frequencies, along with allowing radar-equipped level crossings, and radio for scuba divers, all by November. The changes come as part of a general tidying up of legislation that clarifies licence-free deployments of radar at level crossings, and two-way …

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3G over 2G

So what does that mean for us? Will existing 2G masts will be able do this 3G over 2G stuff or are massive rollouts of upgrades (taking years) going to be needed?

And what about our phones?

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New phones

You may very well need a new phone to take advantage of 3G over 900mhz. Taking a look at the specs for my iphones the 3G/3GS don't support it, but the 4 does.

I would also very much suspect the networks need to roll out upgrades to the sites as well and will do so at their usual glacial pace.

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Roll Over Ofcom

Can't wait to see the Ofcom Compliance Beach Patrol as Mr O points his detector kit at Bill Scuba with a "ello, ello, ello, what all this gigahertzing on the beach then matey? You've nicked you are,"

Right!

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phone compatibility

A good proportion of phones sold over the past couple of years are already 3G @ 900 MHz capable such as the iPhone, Nokia 6700, C5 ands HTC devices but best check your model specs to be sure, 2100 MHz will remain for a few years yet so don't fret.

As far as I'm aware most of the equipment rolled out by the operators recently can be adjusted to operate at 900 MHz fairly easily so should just require a config change signal to be sent out.

Apologies to any radio engineers if I'm oversimplifying things.

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Upgrades

There is no regulation of this type in the US. Yes, the carriers would have to deploy 3G services at 900 or 1900mhz (so there would be rollouts of upgrades), this isn't just some software upgrade -- the existing 3G hardware is not physically connected to the 900 or 1900mhz antennas at the sites. As for phones? The phone would have to support 900mhz 3G as well. Which, since the phone already would have a 3G antenna in it shouldn't be a big deal to design in, but current 3G phones would not have this. They would keep 2G running as well though (not as many channels, since they'd turn some off to make room for a 3G channel) so you wouldn't lose anything compared to now.

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FAIL

3G on GSM frequencies

Madness.

Wasteful CDMA on frequencies better suited to OFDM.

It should be LTE, not 3G which is brain dead.

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Excellent start to plugging the security nightmare which is GSM

This weeks BlackHat conference is firing a volley of shots at GSM. (Break A5/1 - intercept calls, set up IMSI catchers) Some of these faults are due to GSM phones not properly authenticating the network they connect to. Unfortunately as long as 3G phones rely on GSM, they will be equally vulnerable. Moving 3G networks to 2G frequencies is a step in the right direction for patching 'the Achilles heel of 3G security.'

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@Mage

I doubt very much if the actual legislation will specify use of UMTS at 900 & 1800, it will almost certainly be technology agnostic. Agreed LTE makes more sense in terms of bandwidth efficiency and is presumably the long term (2020) aim of most network operators, for data traffic at least.

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