A report from the Swedish postal and telecom regulator PTS has stated that TV viewers have complained about interference from the country’s mobile networks running on the 800 MHz band, though it says that installing filters should resolve most such problems. In 2012 there were 150 complaints of interference from residents in areas of 4G network expansion; in 2013 there were 400. On average, mobile operators provided 60 filters per month during the second half of 2013. PTS said that in cases where it carried out measurements, no incidence constituted interference under the terms set out in operators’ permit conditions.
While we cannot comment on the terms of the permit conditions of various Swedish MNOs, we do believe that customer complaints of interference of digital terrestrial television (DTT) by 4G signals, and it makes perfect sense that such complaints would increase significantly as 4G service expands. While the filters, which fit onto the aerial antennas of the TVs in question, may well solve the problem, and the mobile operators may be very able and willing to bear the cost of such gadgets if required by law to do so, the interesting point here is that in a world with a limited number of usable electromagnetic frequencies, mobile technology—not limited to 4G—is likely to come into conflict with older technologies. To give a related example, in Peru, an operator’s use of the 900 MHz band was interfering with cordless phones to the extent that the country’s Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications was planning to replace the phones to clear that band.
In an increasingly connected world, with ever-increasing demand for the frequencies that best deliver the high-speed mobile connectivity, functionalities that used to be provided by such technologies as DTT and cordless phones will be provided via mobile services, ultimately obviating these clashes of frequency.