updated 05:12 pm EDT, Thu October 18, 2012
Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited to move Freeview channels
The UK may have a quicker overall rollout of faster mobile network services than previously thought. Mobile carriers Everything Everywhere, O2, Vodafone, and Three have stopped their legal threats, and have joined together to create a company specifically to aid in deploying LTE services in the 800MHz band by clearing it of TV signals.
The new company, called Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited (DMS), headed by Andrew Pinder, is effectively an earlier version of MitCo, which would have performed the same task after the spectrum auction set for next year. By creating the company ahead of the auction, the carriers hope to minimize any delays of setting up their networks after it takes place, something triggered by Ofcom allowing Everything Everywhere to use the 1800MHz band for 4G services instead of the 2G it was previously used for.
The creation of DMS is the result of a month of negotiations between the carriers, the UK Government, and Ofcom, reports TechCrunch. While DMS will be funded by the aforementioned carriers that manage to gain access to the 800MHz spectrum in the auction, other parties that secure their own parts of the spectrum can become a company shareholder if they wish.
DMS will be tasked primarily with clearing Freeview TV signals in the country away from the to-be-auctioned 800MHz bands. In moving the channels, DMS must make sure that neither Freeview viewers nor potential mobile networks will interfere with one another. While this may seem to be a simple undertaking on the surface, the limited catchment area of each broadcasting tower and regional channels force the number of channels to manage upwards. Where BBC 1 Wales may be on one frequency, BBC 1 South West, with it's own region-specific shows, would be required to go on a different frequency. Channels that are uniform across the UK run into the same issues, despite having the exact same programming and advertisements across the country.