4G spectrum switchover finishes five months early

Large swathes of the UK have now been provided with 4G coverage after frequencies previously used for analogue TV were cleared, zdnet.com reports.

The work, which is set to be signed off today (Wednesday), has been delivered some five months ahead of schedule. This means that users may now be able to use the superfast connection over summer, instead of waiting until the end of the year.

The scheme was labelled the “digital dividend”, as it used a spectrum that had become available at just the right time, with old analogue signals being switched off as TV became digital-only. It saw more than 270 transmitters across the whole of the UK realigned.

Whilst the 800MHz spectrum roll-out has now been completed, mobile operators still haven’t announced their own specific dates for enabling their customers to get online. In the early days of 4G in the UK, EE was the only network which could connect to the superfast spectrum, but a more recent auction enabled others including O2, Vodafone and 3 to use 4G sims. These are now expected to announce in the coming days when consumers will be allowed access to superfast 4G speeds.

Speaking after the announcement was made, telecoms expert at the University of Cambridge, David Cleevely, claimed that demand for the service may not be at its peak just yet, but this should come when people see just what 4G can offer.

“Demand will build as people see their peers using high speed services and go ‘wow’,” he told bbc.co.uk, “but we don’t have the critical mass yet.”