The 4G network rollout is great news for smartphone users, but could cause a headache for some Freeview TV owners. Have you been affected by 4G interfering with your TV signal?
You may be excited by the arrival of the UK’s new 4G mobile phone network, but did you know that it could interfere with your Freeview TV reception? Particularly if you live in an area with a strong 4G signal, such as near a 4G transmitter.
Recent trials suggest that although the disruption won’t be as widespread as first feared, up to 90,000 households could still be affected.
Freeview filter fix
A new company, at800, has been set up by the mobile operators to help solve problems that arise. It has just kicked off a major awareness campaign to explain what’s happening. If your household could be affected, you will be contacted up to 12 weeks before 4G transmissions start in your area and issued with a free signal filter to connect to your TV.
If you haven’t been sent a filter, but experience Freeview interference then you’ll be able to request one. If you live in a block of flats with a communal aerial then at800 will supply a special filter, though it will be up to the landlord to pay for the installation.
Free filters, but only one each
Although the filters should be easy to fit, some people, such as those who have aerial amplifiers or a distribution system that feeds lots of TVs in their building, will probably require professional help. This will also be funded by at800 so, although it will be an inconvenience, it shouldn’t leave you out of pocket.
However, this isn’t the case if you have more than one TV aerial, as you’ll only be entitled to one filter for free. Our research shows that more than a third of houses (38%) have multiple Freeview sets. If this applies to you and you have different sets running off different aerials (such as a second TV with a portable indoor aerial), you may have to buy additional filters for your other TVs. Each additional filter costs around £15.
Filters won’t work for everyone
It’s estimated that for up to 10,000 households a filter won’t solve the problem. In these situations, at800 will look to upgrade the existing aerial to improve Freeview reception or will switch you to a free satellite or cable service. However, this won’t happen if you only have an indoor aerial – if your filter doesn’t work, you’ll be left to pay for a solution yourself. At800’s remit doesn’t cover problems arising from indoor aerials.
We believe that it’s unfair that anyone should have to pay to fix a problem with their TV reception when they haven’t done anything to cause it. Households affected should get free filters, including any necessary support, for all of their Freeview TVs so they continue to receive good reception as 4G rolls out.
The majority of you agree – 63% of people we spoke to backed our call for at800 to issue people with as many filters as they need.
Have you already been affected by interference or contacted by at800? Did you receive the filters you need?