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back to article Move over, Freeview, just like you promised: You're hogging the 4G bed

Today, the last Freeview transmitters will be relocated out of the bands that were sold off for 4G telephony earlier this year. The whole shift has happened ahead of schedule, which means that by the beginning of autumn, EE's monopoly on next-generation telecoms will come to an end. The bands, which were auctioned off early this …

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Oh rly?

"Three has said it won't be using the "4G" moniker as it's all but meaningless these days, so it will be branding its new service "Ultrafast" instead."

Yes, this decision has absolutely no bearing on the fact that they named the company after the technology they were deploying in a slightly short-sighted fashion.

Now they've painted themselves into another corner, what will they call the service if they upgrade the speeds or when they go to 5G?

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Meh

Ultra Fast?

I'd settle for a signal where I live.

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Re: Ultra Fast?

Yes please. 4G can sod off until 3G actually works. Hell, even 3G can sod off until EDGE coverage actually works. Slow, yes, but I'd like to think it was loading something, somewhere, instead of endlessly searching for non-existent signal. It's not as if I live in the sticks either, just an average sized town.

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Re: Ultra Fast?

Where do people get the idea that "they can make 3G work here first"? Part of the point of 4G is to fix the problems and limits of 3G, two of which were range and building penetration. Allowing 4G to run, in part, on the 800MHz band fixes those two. If you've not got good 2G coverage in a town then it's probably an issue with NIMBYs rather than the cell networks not being bothered.

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Re: Ultra Fast?

I've just switched to 4G with my new phone, and I now actually have a signal, which is kind of useful when you live in London. The 4G signal is not bad at all, even on my commute or on a fast train, whereas the 3G signal was barely present, slow and often just didn't work despite apparently being there (for example, Clapham Junction - full signal bars, zero data rate).

And that's at 1800MHz - the 800MHz bands will spread even further and further into houses.

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I'll think you'll find

That Three's brand is more than strong enough that it exists completely independently from the technology in consumers minds.

Its not as if they call themselves ThreeG is it?

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FAIL

DTT <> Freeview

Amazing how even in this day and age people still get confused about the difference between Freeview and DTT.

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Re: DTT <> Freeview

It doesn't amaze me. Outside of the industry, no-one actually gives a stuff about the difference between technology and the companies that use that technology. The situation is not helped by the fact that roughly half the industry (the marketing half) exists largely to propogate that confusion.

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"800MHz also has the broadest handset support, as it's expected to be used widely across Europe. GSM Arena lists 51 handsets usable on the new networks, while 48 will work on EE's existing 4G network and 44 run all the way up to 2.6GHz."

It's been my understanding that the most frequently used LTE frequency was 1800MHz (Band III). Study a list of LTE operations and most continents use Band III. Africa, Europe, and the Middle East have settled on it, and Asia keeps the option open. The only holdout are the Americas, mainly because there it's an active military frequency.

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1800MHz

Band III used to be 175MHz to 275MHz?

1800MHz is just 1800Mhz. When did it become Band III?

700MHz & 800MHZ LTE will only be ultra fast if you are the only user on a mast and the window faces it and distance is less than 1km.

The existing 900MHz, 1800MHz and 2100MHz are not used efficiently (A RAN is best method). 2300MHz, 2500/2600 MHz are for short range Urban LTE (WiFi Hot spot replacement).

It's a shame that spectrum is now purely seen as revenue source via licence. A very short sighted view for a irreplaceable strategic national resource. Also the current pricing model instead of promoting efficient use of spectrum (the alleged reason) results in a poor service and wastage compared other approaches.

Ofcom of course want rid of ALL broadcast TV. Cable, fibre and Satellite. Mobile can't replace Broadcast for portable or non-fixed infrastructure of Radio or TV. That's proven. Simple mathematics of Unicast vs Broadcast bandwidth per user.

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Re: 1800MHz

"1800MHz is just 1800Mhz. When did it become Band III?"

When it was defined as such by the 3GPP. These bands are defined as part of e-UTRA. Wikipedia can provide more information (it's an informational article with plenty of references, so it should be reliable enough).

According to e-UTRA, Band III has an uplink range of 1710 MHz to 1785 MHz and a downlink range of 1805 MHz to 1880 MHz. It's approximate center (and therefore its common nomenclature) is in fact 1800MHz and is recognized as the old Digital Cellular System frequency.

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FAIL

I should care ?

Freeview was total pants, and knickers.

I now use freesat, still pants but at least the picture isn't a mass of large squares every time a truck/van drives past.

4G?

Yeah, I care. With EE giving me an average of 138kbps on 3G I think I'll wait until they get 3G sorted before I think of going to really high speed.

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Serves you right

Interposing a metal motor vehicle with an electrically buzzy engine and possibly a barely legal two-way radio between your TV antenna and the TV transmitter is bound to mess up your reception. If you care, you should ditch the set-top antenna and pay to have one put in your roof or attic. Which is what you did, except that you got a satellite dish. So you only have to worry about the International Space Station or various GPS satellites going past. That is still a lot, though.

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Anonymous Coward

Ha, I don't even get enough 2G coverage on Vodafone or O2 to make calls in my house. Without the SureSignal, there's only a signal outside. I don't even live in the sticks - it's a small market town of around 10K residents.

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Anonymous Coward

Coverage

I predict that the early adopters will be delighted for about 3 years, by which time there will be so many 4G handsets around that getting decent throughput in a crowded town will become impossible. At that point there will be a sudden resurgence in FTTC/FTTH demand.

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This could usher in a whole new world of hurt

Some of those folks who went through the hassle of upgrading their aerial so as to get reliable DTV operation (especially in the switchover period), may suddenly find they need to do it yet again!

Lots of people swapped from grouped aerials (i.e. ones designed to work effectively only on a subset of the allocated TV broadcast frequencies), to "wideband" ones that attempt to cover the full range of frequencies (470 - 862 MHz). Needless to say the "jack of all trades" wideband aerial is a bit of an engineering compromise, and they don't perform as well as the narrower band grouped aerials. This is most noticeable at the bottom end of the TV spectrum (i.e. group A channels). Hence people in marginal reception areas attempting to re-tune to a lower frequency set of multiplexes, could find themselves back to the days of unreliable reception.

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Re: This could usher in a whole new world of hurt

Yes. over 1/2 a million households ought to get new aerials.

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Clear800 anyone?

Has anyone else noticed we're all being bombarded by "Clear 800" advertising from at800 ?

Presumably in case we need snake oil delivered to fix our Freeview.

Obviously Clear800 has a big fat budget. Who's paying ?

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Re: Clear800 anyone?

"Who's paying"

The cellular companies who bought 800MHz spectrum. If the budget doesn't get used up then they get a refund.

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4g iPhone in UK

Just looking at this

http://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/

And also looking at the comparative phone ranges linked in the article.

Now, obviously, the iPhone 5 is only available on 4g on EE currently, because it is the only 4g service available, but the way things are when the other networks launch their offerings, it will still only be available on EE. (in fact, O2 were recently offering a refund for people that had brought a iPhone5 before their 4g bands had been purchased)

I wonder if Apple will fix this in the next phone, or if we will see a return to the iPhone being available only on one network (or at least at full spec, as I'm sure all the others would still sell it, even if it's not 4g on their network)

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Re: 4g iPhone in UK

There are in fact multiple version of the iPhone 5 depending on which LTE bands it needs to work on. Expect Apple to increase the number of bands supported per model, and hopefully make a single handset that supports them all, but that depends on both the baseband chip and being able to do fancy things with the aerials. It's an issue common to all LTE phones because of the number of possible variations of frequency, channel size and spacing in the standard.

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Anonymous Coward

Death of 3G?

Besides all the DTT channels getting shunted around and subsequent hassle for owners of TV's and other tuners the biggest change I can see is the death of 3G. Recently OFCOM announced that the 900MHz (band 8), 1800MHz (band 3) and 2100MHz (band 1) bands can use LTE technology, as 3G hasn't really performed IMHO I can see it getting shutdown and the bands used for LTE. 2G (GSM) I think will remain as LTE doesn't have a good solution for voice yet and the old 2G networks are perfect for voice and text messaging.

All the current known LTE frequency bands are shown here http://niviuk.free.fr/lte_band.php

As for the potential of interference between 800MHz (3GPP band 20) and Freeview, a lot of work has gone into sorting out 4G base stations to minimise this which is why the operators are expecting a big chunk of cash back from AT800 as the problem doesn't seem to be the huge issue that was expected. Have a read of ECC Decision 09(03) as this desribes the problem, the limits specified are pretty stringent and are pushing the technical capabilites of RF design in meeting them.

So for everyone who winges about potential inferference, etc put a sock in it as the fact that there is very little interference considering the amount of radio signals out there, Regulators like the Radiocommunications Agency and others haven't done a bad job. I am excluding OFCOM as they have regularly shown their complete inability to do anything except deal with suspect adverts.

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£240million?

"the bottom of the analogue TV band, which has proved hard to sell."

If it's so hard to sell, what makes them think it's worth £250M?

Since the middle, current freeview freqs are so valuable, maybe the DTT transmitter people and the broadcasters should be being paid to move rather than have to stump up more license fees.

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