4G services look to be given green light

4G services look to be given green light

After four years, the process of completing the release of airwaves for 4G mobile broadband reached its conclusion this week, paving the way for a new superfast wireless broadband service in the UK.

Ofcom has announced that a large section of radio spectrum will be released to cater for the new service, which will allow users to surf the web, stream videos and download files quickly and easily.

The spectrum had originally been used for the broadcast of digital television channels, and for other traditional devices such as wireless microphones.

According to Ofcom, the clearance of the airwaves has managed to occur due to a combination of upgrading transmitters, retuning television receivers, and allowing wireless microphones to use alternative frequencies.

The final retune for televisions has already been completed by Freeview customers in northern Scotland, meaning that the frequencies are now clear for mobile operators to launch their own 4G services.

It means that the set up of 4G could be as much as five months ahead of schedule and comes after Ofcom announced an accelerated timetable for the roll out of the service last year, confirming talks with television broadcasters, Digital UK, as well as the transmission company Arqiva.

The 800 MHz spectrum was auctioned by Ofcom to be used by 4G companies in February, and is particularly attractive for mobile operators due to the fact that it offers a good level of coverage over wide areas, while also penetrating buildings to offer good indoor signal.

Ed Richards, Ofcom chief executive, said: "This week we are clearing the path for 4G mobile broadband, allowing mobile companies to provide coverage across the UK.

"4G services will reach 98 per cent of the UK population indoors – and even more when outdoors – which will provide a significant boost for rural businesses and consumers."

The news will come as a boost to operators such as O2 and Vodafone, which are both looking to set up their own 4G networks to rival that of EE.