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The UK’s major mobile network operators have revealed they have made further progress in speeding up the deployment of 4G mobile phone services in the 800 MHz frequency band vacated by the Digital Switchover, and will ensure that consumers continue to receive clear Freeview TV signals.
A joint statement from comms regulator Ofcom, the Government and the four operators – EE, Telefónica O2, Three and Vodafone – announced the creation of the key institutions required to ensure the rapid roll-out of 4G services in 2013.
The four operators have formed a jointly controlled company called Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited, originally called MitCo, and appointed former UK Government Office of the E-Envoy head Andrew Pinder as interim chairman. It will be responsible for ensuring that consumers continue to receive clear Freeview TV signals following the roll out of 4G mobile services in the 800 MHz spectrum band from the Spring of next year. Deployment of 4G services in other frequency bands does not require similar measures to be put in place.
According to the statement, the company now will further accelerate the rollout of competitive 4G services next year. It will be funded by the successful bidders for 800MHz spectrum in the forthcoming auction and provisions exist to make sure that if any other party acquires some of this spectrum in the auction, they can immediately become a shareholder in the company.
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Maria Miller said: “The roll-out of 4G is a huge step forward for mobile broadband services in the UK, and will be incredibly important in driving economic growth. I am pleased that the mobile operators will be working together to ensure that no viewers lose their television services when 4G is rolled out, and congratulate them on setting up the assistance scheme so quickly.”