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Ofcom completes release of 800MHz spectrum for 4G services in UK

4G services will reach 98% of the UK population.

By CBR Staff Writer

The release of 800MHz spectrum for 4G services is set to be completed later today, five months ahead of schedule, according to the communications industries regulator Ofcom.

The completion of the spectrum release process, previously used for broadcasting digital TV channels and by wireless audio devices, will clear the way for superfast wireless broadband services in the country.

The clearance of the spectrum has been achieved through a combination of transmitter upgrades by engineers and retuning TV receivers around the UK.

The 4G provision will allow mobile users to stream videos and download files at far higher speeds on their devices.

Last year, Ofcom secured an accelerated timetable for releasing the Freeview frequencies while in February this year, the regulator auctioned the 800 MHz spectrum for use by 4G companies.

According to Ofcom, the section of the airwaves is particularly suitable for providing mobile broadband coverage over several areas, and can penetrate buildings to provide a good indoor signal.

Ofcom CEO Ed Richards said clearing the path for 4G mobile broadband will enable mobile firms to provide coverage across the UK.

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"4G services will reach 98% of the UK population indoors – and even more when outdoors – which will provide a significant boost for rural businesses and consumers," Richards said.

However, Vodafone and O2 are not set to launch their 4G services until later this summer, and Three not until towards the end of the year.

Earlier this month, Ofcom proposed new rules to boost competition among superfast broadband providers, facilitating consumers to switch and reduce contract lengths.

UK-based communications provider EE is the only company which is currently providing 4G in the country.

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