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4G TV Interference 'For 2.3m Homes'

(c) Sky News 2012

New 4G mobile phone networks could cause TV interference to some 2.3 million households, a senior MP has warned.

John Whittingdale, chairman of the influential Culture, Media (Berlin: GC8.BE - news) and Sport Select Committee, says the Government needs to act to alert people to the risk.

The problem centres on 4G services using the 800mhz band of the radio spectrum, which used to be used for television, and is most likely to affect homes with Freeview.

Conservative MP Mr Whittingdale told Sky News for iPad: "The problem with that is that it is going to cause quite a lot of interference to people who use Freeview and we estimate that something like 2.3 million households could find that their reception of Freeview is affected by the new 4G service."

He said there were concerns about the 4G roll-out, despite Government plans to provide a plug-in filter for the TV in some affected households or vouchers to pay for technicians to adjust rooftop aerials.

He said: "They're only going to supply one filter, so if you have more than one television set you may have to go out and buy the others.

"But also the timescale in which this is happening is very short. It's going to start happening probably about June next year and at the moment it seems as if almost no-one is aware of it, so the Government is going to have to move very quickly to make people aware that this is going to happen."

Meanwhile, a new study warns that another Christmas without a universal 4G service will cost the UK economy £120m in lost sales.

The report by online auction site eBay claims a nationwide roll-out of 4G would have boosted sales from £373m to £493m.

More than half of consumers (55%) plan to use their mobile to browse the web this Christmas, while 39% say they will use their device to get gift ideas and check prices. said the top three barriers preventing consumers from shopping on their mobiles were slow connection speeds, payments timing out and network reliability - all problems that could be reduced by 4G.

EE, formerly known as Everything Everywhere, has started to launch its range of 4G products and services in London, Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, Southampton and Manchester (Other OTC: MNCSQ.PK - news) .

The network, which offers speeds up to five times faster than 3G, will be available on the Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL - news) iPhone 5, as well as devices from HTC (Other OTC: HTCXF.PK - news) , Samsung, Nokia (Stockholm: NOKI-SEK.ST - news) and Huawei.

Clare Gilmartin, vice president of eBay Marketplaces Europe, said: "Mobile devices have become virtual stores in our pockets, giving us the ability to shop anytime, anywhere.

"But for consumers, it's critical that the experience is quick, seamless and simple."

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