Wireless versus cable: New 4G phones will be disruptive--literally

It's probably not what the technologists mean when they say that LTE-based 4G wireless will be a "disruptive" force. Research by the trade group Cable Europe has determined that new, more powerful next generation cell phones will literally disrupt cable TV if used within six meters of a set-top box. The disruptions could be as minor as pixelation to as serious as total loss of image.

The news is especially urgent for the U.K., which is readying a digital TV switch that will free 800 MHz spectrum left over from the digital transmission and dedicate it to LTE service providers. Virgin Media, known as a cable TV player overseas, has already requested that the government postpone awarding the freed-up spectrum until the matter is resolved.

An industry source, speaking on background, offered up this innocuous breaking news. "There have been a lot of conversations in the U.K.; everyone wants to get this sorted."

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