Following over 70 years of usage, the 800MHz band has now reverted to the calm silence that it had seen before its use began in the UK, all those years ago. This follows the Ofcom announcement that the country has officially completed its switchover to digital television, freeing-up much of the airwaves previously utilised by bandwidth-hungry analogue transmissions.
The 800MHz band actually only forms a small portion of analogue television's UHF spectrum, however has been of particular interest as this is the group of frequencies that will enable network providers to deliver high-penetration 4G services, perhaps even, to a greater extent than existing 2G GSM networks, the standard, reliable fall-back when 3G coverage inevitably fails.
So why is 800MHz so special? The answer is that it had originally been chosen for television transmission for a reason and, that is its ability to travel over hills, around and through obstacles. Penetration is similar, if not superior to that of the 900MHz GSM band utilised to provide 2G coverage and, for the first time, the UK may see both a combination of coverage and speed, as 4G envelops this band, early next year. This is in contrast to 3G, which currently only functions at 2.1GHz, offering far-less penetration.
Ofcom also sees this serious potential and, when bidding takes place later this year, will stipulate that any winning bidders must deliver 98 per cent indoor coverage to the UK population. Exciting times, lets only hope that network providers will see sense when pricing for the new service.