back to article Just what does BT have planned for its 4G licence: We drill into UK LTE

So, the UK's 4G auction is over, but questions remain: who bought what exactly, why did they pay so little, and, most importantly, when can we expect some 4G goodness? The hammer has fallen on Blighty's airwaves, but the exact frequency allocations haven't yet been decided: winning bids were for blocks of spectrum within …

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Anonymous Coward

it takes no great leap of imagination to see how those Wi-Fi sites might become small 4G LTE masts

How long before the inevitable headlines of "BT force mobile phone transmitters that are known to cause cancer into our houses" appear ... time to buy shares in a tinfoil supplier I think!

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Anonymous Coward

There has been no proven link between mobile transmitters and cancer. Your microwave, which operates in the same frequency band (2.45GHz) as most WiFi transmitters (802.11b/g at 2.4GHz) but at a much higher power (between 600w and 1200w for a microwave, approx 4w for WiFi) has a higher risk, but even then you'd need to stick your head next to it.

You'd have to eat a mobile or WiFi transmitter before there is much risk, but if you do, the risk of cancer would be the least of your problems.

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I think the initial AC was saying exactly that - there's no proven link between transmitters and cancer. Unfortunately, far too many scientifically illiterate people believe that there is a link, and these are the kind of people who complain endlessly about the government mind control rays transmitting to their teeth.

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Black Helicopters

YOUR ONLY SAYING THAT BECOZ TEH GOVERNMINT MIND CONTROL MICROWAVE CANCER RAYS HAVE DAMAGED YOUR BRAAAINNN!

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Anonymous Coward

My fellow Daily Mail and Daily Express readers heartily endorse your paranoia.

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Anonymous Coward

"high-frequency signals don't propagate very far but that doesn't matter because each phone mast can only handle a certain number of users in its cell area anyway, and this capacity is more likely to be a problem than the distance to the nearest mast."

I wish Orange/EE would understand this. My phone is regularly bumped off the network without warning. EE saying it's an issue at the mast closest to my location, but it's not. It's oversubscription.

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Meh

It's oversubscription.

Do you mean oversubscription of the mast or their service? Either way what it sounds like is that the mast doesn't have enough capacity which would be covered by EE saying "an issue at the mast closest to your location". Although I suppose a phone might disconnect if there wasn't enough network capacity resulting from national bandwidth issues.

Either way this is why wireless broadband won't ever compete with a decent fixed line service. Multiple people all hitting a single point is always weak. Of course the same is true of fixed line services but there the single point is an exchange which is always going to be built with oodles of bandwidth and the ability to easily upgrade. Upgrading mast capacity can mean a trip out into the middle of a field and could well run into limits imposed by the laws of physics and Ofcom.

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Anonymous Coward

"it's an issue at the mast " is the clue.

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" something the network operators should be concerned about"

Not really. Only EE ever approach anything like BT's outrageous pricing so Voda, Three and O2 won't be worried at all.

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Have Offcom moved the goalposts

And allowed 3G on 900Mhz? More importantly do any phones support it on that band? If no to either of these questions then O2 will have trouble deploying 3G in the highlands as suggested.

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Z80

Re: Have Offcom moved the goalposts

Vodafone are already doing it. They label it as "Extended Internet and email coverage" on their coverage maps.

GSMArena's phone finder returns 709 results when searching for UMTS 900 support.

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Re: Have Offcom moved the goalposts

Assuming you really meant 3G, then yes, O2 have been running 3G on 900MHz for nearly two years now. Yes, there's plenty of devices that support it too. If you meant LTE900, then I haven't got a clue. :)

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Re: Have Offcom moved the goalposts

LTE900 is one of those things that theoretically exists, but which has been implemented in few places, if anywhere. The 900MHz band isn't very wide compared to some of the others, and is already full of 2G and 3G services. Networks put 3G in it because there was no other sub-1GHz band in Europe to put it in at the time. Now that the 800MHz band is available instead, that is where they are putting the sub-1GHz LTE.

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Silver badge

Re: Have Offcom moved the goalposts

Yes. The HTC Touch HD2 was one of the first phones to support it, along with whichever iPhone was current at that time. Now, most mid-high end phones support it.

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MJI
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As before I reckon BT Vision

Well it is the right frequencies!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: As before I reckon BT Vision

How do you mean? Although it can use frequencies formerly used by broadcast TV, 4G doesn't lend itself to broadcast use as the protocol expects to be delivering specific data to specific end points, not the same data to many. It would be cheaper and easier to rent a freeview channel.

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Paris Hilton

Am I missing something?

"BT could offer in-home LTE, backhauled over broadband whenever one was near a BT Broadband customer or OpenZone spot, and roaming to one of the operators the rest of the time"

Complete punter in this area however, why would you want in home LTE piggybacked from an existing broadband router, as any mobile device in or near your home sporting LTE is likely to be WiFi capable anyway?

Paris because I'm probably being spectacularly dim about this.

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Re: Am I missing something?

Because LTE would be seamless and requires no extra selection/authentication, providing you have mobile data enabled on your device

Many people switch wifi off when out and about to save battery, but with a BT LTE 'hotspot' in every router these are still available if you are in range.

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Bronze badge

Re: Am I missing something?

>any mobile device in or near your home sporting LTE is likely to be WiFi capable

We can expect, in their drive to build to price points, reduce complexity and enhance battery life, device vendors to omit the WiFi radio circuitry on some devices. But naturally as with everything, there is no certainty that there will be a market for such devices.

Additionally, it would allow for a simple split tunnel operation of the 'home-exchange' cable. Ideally, I should then be able to have broadband from BT (or a third-party ) and my LTE fermocell connecting to my preferred mobile operator - and if I still want it my 'normal' phone line from someone else..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Am I missing something?

LTE would extend further from the transmitter than WiFi. However I think the real benefit would come once VoLTE (Voice over LTE) is implemented and rolled out, reducing the need for CS fall back when making calls from your home.

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Mushroom

"That strength in Wi-Fi is, in part at least, achieved by putting a publicly accessible network hotspot into every T Broadband router issued by the telco. "

Something which I disable in every BT router set up I touch as BT have dragged their heels over even ADSL2 on our exchange I don't see why they should inflict the double whammy of higher IPSC pricing for lower speeds and allowances and add to that Stealing some of the line capacity on people connected to a service that they have really dragged their heels about dragging up-to date on an exchange which has 10,000 lines (so not a shed in the middle of a village green - many of those HAVE ADSL2!). That really rubs salt into the wounds!

BT - the suckiest bunch of sucks the ever sucked.

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Bronze badge

Re: Disabling public hotspot in BT routers

I do hope that you ensure your clients have signed up to the BT hotspot service so that they can benefit from the free BT WiFi hotspot access that is part of the package.

Some of my clients, love the fact that their iPad's have internet/email access in some of their favourite venues. Unfortunately, I've found it has often been easier to leave the home hotspot running, just to avoid awkward questions when they meet at each other's homes.

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Anonymous Coward

in-home LTE?

I heard reception is shit indoors. Something has changed?

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Re: in-home LTE?

Current EE spectrum is generally in the wall-unfriendly lower end of the LTE spectrum.

Future providers, including BT, will use higher frequencies that are, so they tell us, much more conducive to indoor signal propagation.

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WTF?

Re: in-home LTE?

er...

shurely shome mishtake?

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WTF?

Re: in-home LTE?

Um.... last time I checked - I thought the physics ran the other way around - lower frequency = better propagation but also lower capacity.

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Coat

Re: in-home LTE? @Andrew Jones 2

"lower frequency = better propagation"

Tell that to a gamma ray. Mine's the one made of lead, thanks.

Okay, it is true for RF.

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Anonymous Coward

Maybe...

...it's to extend broadband into homes (via external antennas) that can't get a useful speed over copper. With a directional antenna and a static set of connections per 'cell' (not really a cell if used in this way) it could solve the last mile problem in some rural situations. The antennas could be mounted on poles next to FTTx cabinets and the signal could feed a version of BT's home router in the same way that FTTC does.

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