Who needs 4G anyway? 5G is on the way

4G LogoAs you’re no doubt aware, EE (the merged Orange and T-Mobile) has got a jump on the competition by launching the UK’s first 4G mobile data network. This new network offers over-the-air download speeds much faster than the existing 3G services, and is being slowly rolled out across the UK.

Well, even before most of us have got our hands on a 4G phone (and expensive data contract), the regulator Ofcom has announced… wait for it… 5G is on the way!

Why 5G?

Always thinking ahead, OfCom’s worked out that our data demands are likely to be 80 times greater than they are today by the time we hit 2030, meaning we need to start planning for the next network. Here’s a snippet of what Ofcom have to say:

“To help meet this demand and avert a possible ‘capacity crunch, more mobile spectrum is needed over the long term, together with new technologies to make mobile broadband more efficient.

Ofcom is preparing plans now to support the release of spectrum for future mobile services, possibly ‘5G’, when the spectrum becomes available.”

In reality, it seems that the spectrum will be shuffled around to bring usage inline with the rest of the world, and it will have an important impact on Freeview.

The good news, is that we can expect the number of Freeview HD channels to increase in coming years, with another 10 HD channels being a possibility. The bad news, is Freeview channels may have to be moved, meaning more action from UK TV viewers will be needed…

Freeview disruption

Freeview LogoApparently, the new bandwidth needed for yet anther mobile network will be found in the 700MHz part of the radio spectrum… which is heavily used for Freeview at the moment. Whilst we’re told that this won’t mean another digital TV switchover, it will mean some changes to the way we watch Freeview, and Ofcom has not yet released details of what we can expect. Our consultant has told us here at FrequencyCast to “alert your listeners to some significant disruption to Freeview” in the run-up to 2018. You’ve been warned!

Also, regular listeners to the show will note that we’re still expecting a sizable about of disruption to Freeview from next year, as the 4G services begin to appear – will over a million households expected to need a filter to stop interference from the new 4G base stations.

As one of our listeners has suggested… could the constant Freeview re-tunes, and warnings of 4G interference and 5G hassle be a cunning ploy to push us all over to Sky or Freesat, and sell the old Freeview space off for a 6G network? Conspiracy theorists of the world unite.

More on 4G and 5G in a future show, no doubt…

 

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