Ofcom: '4G mobile might mess up your digital TV'

In the future, all our iPads will be super-fast 4G, but Ofcom worries we might not actually be able to watch telly due to a signal conflict...

We all know that annoying sound that is caused by our mobile signal clashing with the FM radio in the car, but it looks like high speed mobile services may also cock up our digital TV reception more in the future.

According to regulator Ofcom, mobile signals may well make digital TV almost unwatchable for lots of Brits in the future.

Telly versus mobile

Ofcom is now kicking off some research into how this might be prevented from happening and ruining our enjoyment of such modern TV classics as Come Dine With Me and Britain's Got Talent in the future.

To be fair, Ofcom's latest research does suggest that the impact of the fourth-generation (4G) mobile signal on our goggleboxes will only affect around three per cent of TV-watching Brits. Still, even if that is the case, that's still over three-quarters of a million annoyed TV viewers and BBC licence-payers demanding to know why their telly is on the blink.

Plus, if there is a problem with mobile signals affecting a few hundred thousand Brits' access to Eastenders, then we surely expect to read a heated Daily Mail or Sun headline about the fact at some point in the future, hence Ofcom's concern.

The reason why this might happen is that the spectrum that is currently reserved for delivering a faster 4G mobile signal to Brits sits worryingly close to that which is used to broadcast terrestrial digital telly.

The auction for the 800Mhz band takes place next year, with 4G mobile services also set to arrive in the UK soon. Yet while we all want faster downloading times and streaming services on our mobiles and tablets, what we don't want is that annoying interference noise spoiling our TV viewing, as Ofcom rightfully points out in its latest report.

Ofcom's latest consultation exercise to look into the possible problems that might arise from this 4G interference issue runs until 11 August this year.

Obviously, most of us will not own or use 4G-capable smartphones until long after that date, so we will not actually know whether or not they really do spoil our telly-vision distractions and delights until we have them sat in our pockets or handbags or man-bags.

Via Ofcom