back to article EU could force countries to allocate 700 MHz band to mobile by mid-2020

New legislation could force EU countries to make sure the 700 MHz band of spectrum is made exclusively available for mobile services by the middle of 2020. The European Commission has published proposals to introduce new laws that would require EU countries to “allow the use of the 694-790 MHz frequency band for terrestrial …

  1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    This is more to do with IoT than with traffic growth

    Traffic growth is handled much better by higher frequencies, because you can have higher cell densities. In the 700MHz band atmosphere refraction and the lower resistance of buildings to radio mean that your cell is heard for tens of miles even if it is transmitting at relatively low power.

    So 700MHz will not do a lot in terms of increasing the bandwidth available. It will, however, do quite a lot in terms of increasing coverage and availability.

    1. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Re: This is more to do with IoT than with traffic growth

      Is "increased coverage" a synonym for "shed loads of interference"?

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Adam 52 Silver badge

    Bad news for those of us with C/D band aerials on our roofs :-(

    I guess the cable TV provider will be laughing.

    1. Warm Braw Silver badge

      I find it rather odd that Ofcom was so quick off the mark on this one, given that the UK is relatively unusual in the extent to which DTT dominates broadcast TV - cable and satellite tend to be the norm elsewhere. Short of migrating to DVB-T2 and SFNs the choices would appear to be fewer channels or more compression: it does look as if old fashioned terrestrial TV is being intentionally left to wither on the vine.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Nothing odd about it...

        Look at who is buddies with Cameron & Co. oh yes, the man who operates the biggest satellite service available in the UK.

      2. Mage Silver badge


        Ofcom and Comreg both have stated the aim of ENTIRELY abolishing Terrestrial TV. They are "captured" by Mobile interests.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More EU interference..

    You do start to wonder if DTT is ultimately doomed. They keep moving the frequencies about and nibbling at the edges. Already there is not enough bandwidth to permit more HD channels; despite what was originally promised.

    Yet another piece of EU legislation (they love to legislate for us don't they?) that we could ignore if we take the sensible route and vote to leave.....

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. DougS Silver badge


        If by "we" you mean the UK doesn't the fact that it is an island help quite a bit? They might need weaker transmitters near the mainland to avoid TV signals in the 700 MHz band crossing the English Channel, but aside from that I don't see why they'd need to abandon use of those frequencies if they opted out.

        Many of the phones you can buy today already can use 700 MHz LTE since we're using it in the US today, so you'll be covered when you travel to EU countries that use those frequencies for cell rather than TV. Later this year the US is going to auction off frequencies in the 600 MHz band. The highest TV channel frequency would be as low as 572 MHz depending on how much they ultimately auctioned off. The sensitive area occupied by the unused channel 37 at 608-614 MHz would still be reserved and guard banded to protect those frequencies from interference for radio astronomy.

    2. Mage Silver badge

      Re: More EU interference..

      Actually it's driven by some national regulators, not the EU.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More EU interference..

      The 700 Mhz band was co-allocated to mobile services at the recent ITU WRC-15 which was approved by member states incl. the UK. The EU doesn't have a vote at the conference.

  4. Charles 9 Silver badge

    I wonder how this will mesh with US mobile frequencies, given the 700MHz range is also given over to mobile use IIRC.

  5. MJI Silver badge

    Stupid frequencies

    This would take large chunks out of broadcast spectrum.

    Why does data on a telephone take prioirty over TV broadcasting?

    That said there would be some large jamming stations around!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stupid frequencies

      I imagine that's the point.

      You're not thinking corporate. Why are the 1% allowing their political poodles to give away (FFS!) what their corporations could be charging us to view while charging us to download?

      Enough of that old fashioned commie shit.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Stupid frequencies

        Why should I?

        Had broadcast TV on these frequencies for many years, millions of people use it, not everyone can get cable, not satellite, some prefer terrestrial to satellite (in the early days BBC looked better on Digital Terretrial than Digital Satellite).

        On the satellite side, not everyone can have a dish, not everyone can afford a Humax PVR on top of their TV.

        1. Steve Todd

          Re: Stupid frequencies

          Analog TV needed large lumps of spectrum because of long distance propagation issues (ghosting etc). DTTV solves those issues, and packs many more channels into the same space. It's also designed to allow national networks to run on a single frequency. The result is we don't need the extra space (but some folks will require a new aerial). There is quite a lot of sense in re-allocating 700MHz to mobile data.

          BTW, Internet of Things is all very low bandwidth. 2G should be fine for most of it. This is all about 4/5G mobile internet for people.

        2. Martin Summers Silver badge

          Re: Stupid frequencies

          "not everyone can afford a Humax PVR on top of their TV"

          Absolutely, with today's TV's they'd fall off straight away.

        3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

          Re: Stupid frequencies

          While a Humax PVR might not be affordable for some people a plain old sat decoder (i.e. the Hummy without the Recorder) is around £30 and should be affordable.

          Even my Mother can afford one out of her pension and now gets FreeSat.

          1. MJI Silver badge

            Re: Stupid frequencies

            And also why can't the spectrum be used for more HD? or UHD?

            Why is it always TV spectrum taken?

            As to receivers, can't see the point in ones without HDDs.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Stupid frequencies

              "Why is it always TV spectrum taken?"

              Because commercial radio's too small a band and most of the rest of the bands are still in active use. TV's the only one out there pretty much wasting bandwidth, especially after the analog switchoff.

    2. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Stupid frequencies

      Because Mobile Licences are much more revenue than TV allocations.

  6. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Yes we have straight bananas

    Any preliminary study into the subject would tell them there are already divergent national practises with regards to how the signal gets to the house, so why mandate clearing the same spectrum for all countries when it so obviously is worse for some than others.

  7. Mage Silver badge

    Nothing to do with IOT or Traffic.

    Mobile is CELLULAR. Due to weak licence conditions to drive up licence auctions there are not enough base stations on existing bands.

    This ONLY about raising revenue from Mobile Licences.

    700MHz is too low a frequency for smaller cells. For more traffic and speed you need smaller cells, more base stations at the under used 1800 and 2100 bands. Even the 900MHz can have far more bases.

    They are not even utilising the 800MHz they got from TV properly due to useless greedy regulators.

    1. Steve Todd

      Re: Nothing to do with IOT or Traffic.

      The number of base stations you build has to be cost effective. 700, and to a lesser extent 900MHz, is good for covering rural areas where you can't afford to build one base station to serve only a handful of people. 2100 and 2600MHz is good for city centres where even small cells become saturated.

  8. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    The move will require some DTT services to be shifted onto other frequencies.

    Oh gawd, another bloody retune.

    1. Frank Rysanek

      Re: retune


      Where I live, we have like 6 DVB-T MUXes (carriers) in the air, from about 4 directions, with varying signal strength (RX). Years ago when I moved in, I started to look after the "shared terrestrial aerial", serving the small appartment block I live in... I made it through the first retune (analog darkness) and a roof reconstruction with relatively modest investment, and by sheer luck the two bandpass antenna preamps are just about right for the mix of frequencies and levels... Even if we did buy a proper blade chassis with channel cards, the channel amp cards tend to have a limited tuning range = another retune into a different band would cost us another hefty sum...

      When the time comes again, I'll see what I can do :-)

      Interestingly, as the analog TV channels were squatting in the lower TV bands, the analog phase-out has resulted in most of the DVB-T occupying the upper channels in band V - which I didn't like very much, as the upper channels are a pig to catch if you don't have direct line of sight to the transmitter, and they have shorter reach on the legacy coax cabling I have inherited in the building. Another retune back to the lower channels (in our case, it might correlate with the shift to DVB-T2) might improve signal levels at wall sockets in our house :-) We probably won't be moving back to band III, but even band IV would be nicer to work with, than channel 58 in band V.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    retune or new appliances and hardware?

    Will all equipment be able to do a retune or will we have to go out and buy a set top box if we want to keep our existing TV like we did when free view first started.

    so shopping list.

    1) new roof mount ariel,

    2) new set top box for existing TV

    3) new capture cards for the PVR (Myth, KODI, Plex,)

    4) new amplifiers

    5) new cables

    6) new freesat dish and box (for the TV) and tuner card (for the PVR) just so i dont have anything to watch if the terrestrial channels fail you understand.

    1. Steve Todd

      Re: retune or new appliances and hardware?

      Depending on the area you are in you may need a new aerial. The cost of this should be met by the government.

      Everything else should work as before after a retune. The range of frequencies available for TV is being shrunk, not moved to a different band completely.

  10. jonfr

    My Sony Xperia Z5 supports EU 700Mhz plan* (I think, it supports bands 12,17,28), even if it's not offered anywhere at the moment. But it also supports 2300Mhz that is supposed to be used for LTE. The problem here is not spectrum, but old systems in use. They could phase out 3G in favour of LTE (better speed) and use 2G for voice and slow data speed.

    EU / U.S 700Mhz bands are not compatible.

    *If they use the same plan as APT countries.

    As for antennas for TV, they are going to receive the signal but the televisions don't do anything with it. The risk is if the strength of the signal is higher than the tuner can handle, resulting in a burnout.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Europe will use the lower duplexer of the APT700 band plan (703-733/758-788). It's not possible to use the full band plan (703-748/758-803) as it overlaps with Europe's DD1 800 MHz allocation (832-862/791-821). This allows a near global 700MHz harmonised standard excluding N. America.

  11. Richard 12 Silver badge

    Screwing over PMSE yet again

    How about we withdraw that from the EU Parliament for the next week?

    See how they cope with no radio mics and no simultaneous translation services.

  12. dc384

    May not be safe

    since usa has opened the 700Mhz range, the increase in memory loss, loss of focus and extreme tiredness has been substantial. This affects certain head shapes (larger oval vs round) and people with higher IQs. I would highly recommend studies be done before opening this up

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