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4G launch will affect millions of TV sets

40,000 to lose TV signal completely thanks to 4G

4G smartphone network

Millions of TV viewers across the UK will experience disruption when 4G LTE mobile broadband services are launched this year.

Up to a total of 2.3 million homes will experience significant levels if interference to their TV signal, according to The Telegraph. The cause of this issue will be the launch of 4G mobile networks due to go live in the next few months. See also: Phones 4U to launch 4G mobile network.

If that sounded bad enough, it's possible that 40,000 users could have their TV signal completely wiped out. TV watchers will have to schedule an engineer to install a new filter to avoid the problem.

UK mobile operators are currently in the process of bidder for spectrum to be used as 4G on their networks. One of the frequencies on offer, 800MHz, sits alongside the 700MHz spectrum used for Freeview. The other spectrum band is 2.6GHz and won't cause such problems.

EE has been providing 4G for the last few months as the UK's only 4G network but uses the 1800MHz spectrum. See: What is 4G? A complete guide to 4G.

Homes within a 1.25 mile radius of a 4G mast will be affected, including London, the Midlands, north-west England, Yorkshire and Scotland. Those worst affected may be forced to switch to satellite or cable TV from providers like Sky and Virgin Media.

There have been no public advertisements or warnings on the issue. However, DMSL, the agency overseeing the launch has been provided with a £180m budget from operators rather than UK tax payer's money.

This fund will be used to set up a website and a call centre where users can get information, order filters and book an engineer. The Telegraphs reports that the call centre will only be capable of handling 1,000 calls per day despite the millions potentially affected.

Simon Beresford-Wylie, chief executive of DMSL, said: "DMSL plans to pre-empt the majority of potential interference issues caused by 4G."

"We're focused on being able to provide anyone who may be affected with the information and equipment they'll need to ensure they continue to receive free-to-air TV."

Follow Chris Martin and @PCAdvisor on Twitter.

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