4G TV signal interference not as severe as expected in test

Out of 22,000 households in the West Midlands test area, only 15 reported disruption to their TV signal whilst a dummy 4G mast was switched on. The mast was located between Cradley Heath and Rowley Regis in the Black Country and was tested in the last two weeks of March.

The 4G TV signal interference observed was much less significant than the 120 homes that computer models had forecast to be affected.

Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited conducted the test. Branded as “at800”, it was set up by Britain’s four mobile networks as a condition of their 4G operating licences, which were awarded in February.

Simon Beresford-Wylie, chief executive of at800, said: “This was a useful, small-scale test. Further extensive evaluation will occur during April and May as masts are switched on for tests across larger urban areas.”

For those households that do experience interference issues, the company plans to distribute filters as 4G networks are switched on around the country. It maintains that these filters will resolve the problems for most households.

The networks due to be switched on this summer will use the 800MHz frequency band which is adjacent to the digital terrestrial television signal. Everything Everywhere currently has a 4G network in operation but it runs at 1800MHz, meaning it does not affect digital television.

In July last year Ofcom predicted that up to 2.3 million households could lose some or all of their digital television reception when the 4G networks are rolled out. Homes near 4G base stations are more likely to be affected. Those who share an aerial are also more likely to see some disruption.

However, encouraging signs from these early tests indicate that disruption may not be as severe as first predicted by Ofcom.