8th Dec 2014 - Changes to the 700MHz Band
On the 19th November, Ofcom announced their decision to remove Programme Making and Special Events (PMSE) users from the 700 MHz band of radio spectrum. Ofcom’s decision is a real danger to some of the UK’s most important cultural, social and economic events. Instead, this spectrum will be allocated to Mobile Network Operators.
The regulator’s decision will mean that wireless systems could be forced to operate in less than two thirds of the currently available spectrum. For more information on how these changes could affect you, please contact our Wireless Helpline.
FAQ's below and for further information and advice see the Shure Wireless Frequency Guide or call the Wireless Helpline 01992 703 038.
What was the 2012 Digital Switchover (DSO)?
The analogue to digital TV switchover was Government policy. It resulted in almost everyone being able to receive digital TV through an aerial. This DSO announcement in 2003 was immediately followed by plans to auction off the rights to use this spectrum. This process and the income it would generate for the UK Government from the highest bidders became known as the Digital Dividend Review (DDR).
Why did the DSO affect wireless microphone & IEM users?
The 800MHz band was previously used by wireless microphones alongside analogue TV broadcast. Ofcom cleared and auctioned the 800MHz band to match spectrum being released in other European countries (European Harmonisation). Today, the 800MHz band is used for 4G mobile data networks by various operators and is no longer available for use by wireless microphones and in-ear monitoring systems.
What frequencies were affected by the DSO?
550-606MHz (TV channels 31-37) and 790-862MHz (TV channels 61-69). However, only the 800MHz band was auctioned and repurposed for 4G. The “lower block” remains available for PMSE.
What happened to the European harmonised de-regulated licence-free spectrum between 863–865MHz?
The de-regulated licence-free spectrum (863-865MHz) remains untouched by DSO. If you are currently operating in this area of spectrum, you are free to carry on using it. However, with the introduction of 4G, Ofcom recently conducted a study on potential interference from 4G services into 863-865MHz. The results of the study can be found here. - http://bit.ly/WNyjGm.
What was channel 69?
Channel 69 (854-862MHz) was a dedicated channel for the use of radio microphones in the UK. By dedicated, we mean not sharing spectrum with other harmful unlicensed devices such as Bluetooth, & Wi-Fi etc. Channel 69 was cleared as part of the DSO and is no longer available for PMSE. OfCom has allocated TV Channel 38 as the replacement for Channel 69.
What is 2.4GHz and when should I use it?
The 2.4GHz band is de-regulated block of spectrum available worldwide for a variety of services including wireless microphones. 2.4GHz systems are ideal for small systems exceeding no more than typically 8 channels. One of the advantages of the 2.4GHz band is that it is license free and available for use worldwide.
What is the current status of the 700MHz band?
The future of the 700MHz band is currently a hot topic. On the 9th November 2014, Ofcom announced the decision to reallocate this spectrum to Mobile Network Operators by 2020.
Which Frequencies can I use for wireless microphones & IEM's?
Wireless microphones and in-ear monitors operate in dedicated blocks of spectrum. In the UK the majority of systems operate in the so called UHF bands but there are a few other parts of spectrum that are available for wireless systems.
1. TV Channel 38 (606-614MHz) was officially announced by Ofcom as the replacement for TV channel 69 (854-862MHz).
Note: A Shared License is required by law to legally operate wireless mics and IEM systems in Channels 38. Channel 38 is shared spectrum with other users of PMSE equipment and is available across the UK. Please contact Arqiva at www.pmse.co.uk to obtain a license. Note The availability of Channel 38 can also be checked using the online ‘Look Up Tool’ from JMFG on www.pmse.co.uk
2. 470-606MHz (TV Channels 21-37) and 614-790MHz (TV Channels 39-60) is available for wireless microphones and IEM’s on an interleaved basis. These blocks of spectrum are to be used for large events, fixed installations and other special project events only and require a license for legal operation. Refer to www.pmse.co.uk.
3. The deregulated license-free spectrum from 863-865MHz remains available.
4. The 2.4GHz band is available for use across the UK and is license free. This band is ideal for small channel counts and environments where a long distance transmission is not required.
Do I need a licence to operate my wireless microphones or IEM’s?
Yes. It is required by law in the UK to be in possession of a licence to legally operate radio microphones or IEM’s unless you are using the de-regulated spectrum between 863-865MHz. Please contact JFMG for licensing information.
What Shure wireless system is right for me?
Shure manufactures wireless systems in a number of different versions that operate in different parts of the spectrum.
A suffix indicates the tuning bandwidth or frequency range that a particular product can operate in e.g. for K4E the frequency range is 606-666MHZ.
© 2014 Shure UK Ltd.