New generation mobile phones will ruin cable TV signals

The next generation of mobile phones are set to disrupt households' cable television – and possibly their neighbours' sets as well.

Research by Cable Europe, the trade body, appears to confirm the industry's worst fears that mobile phones on Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology will interfere with cable TV if used within six metres of a set top box.

A Cable Europe report, compiled by Belgian testing group Excentis, said that it is "very likely" that a significant number of users will experience interference to their services. The UK is to fully switch to digital TV by 2012, and the bandwidth freed will be auctioned off to mobile phone companies for LTE – or 4G – services.

However, research in other European markets was suggesting at the end of last year that the new mobiles could knock out cable TV services. The EU has issued guidance on the issue and has urged governments to take potential interference into account.

The crucial bandwidth at the centre of the issue is 800Mhz, which will be used to bring in LTE, which will allow users access to the internet on mobile phones at 20 times current speeds. The frequency has also been seen as useful to bring mobile broadband to rural areas. However, tests found that some of the new high-powered mobile devices cause cable TV to disrupt, from pixellation to total loss of image. It has emerged that the European standards for a cable TV box shielding and wiring insulation were not set at a strong-enough level to prevent interference from LTV mobiles.

This issue is worrying both the mobile and cable TV industries. Many have been meeting informally in a bid to head off a potentially disastrous issue for them. While the problem is several years off in the UK, the battle is already playing out across Europe.

The reports have prompted cable operators in Germany to lobby the government to delay the awarding of freed up spectrum in the country. In the UK, cable TV provider Virgin Media has had talks with the government and media regulator Ofcom after it held tests that confirmed the devices could be a problem. The watchdog is to consult on UK spectrum auctions and will consider the issue.

One industry source said: "There have been a lot of conversations in the UK, everyone wants to get this sorted." In 2009, Kip Meek, who oversaw the last government's plan to auction off the new spectrum in the UK, said the issue needed looking at.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Senior BA - Motor and Home Insurance

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

Market Risk & Control Manager

Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Head of Audit

To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam