Radiomicrophones will move

posted Nov 18, 2011, 6:18 AM by Heikki Kokkinen   [ updated Nov 20, 2011, 9:52 PM ]
Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications (LVM) organized a public hearing about the 800 MHz frequency band on Nov 14, 2011. In the resolution draft, one of the most argued points was the goal to strengthen the government budget with the auction of the band. It has been a common practice in most countries, but rather unique in Finland. Earlier the collected or required funds have been directed towards improving communication services. Another common concern from the telecommunications industry were the service coverage requirements. If they are set for the 800 MHz LTE coverage solely, the currently ongoing LTE deployments on other frequency ranges may slow down. The current mobile operators would prefer the coverage requirements for LTE combining the coverage of the operator on all frequencies. On the other hand, the draft version of the resolution brings the new entrants more equal chances in this respect. For a few years, the mobile operator frequencies have been given out in a balanced way, no matter if it happened through a beauty contest or an auction. The resolution draft is an exception. One operator will get more bandwidth than the others. This might increase competition and prices in auction, but it could also raise the motivation of a new entrant.
Although the discussion proceeds around LTE and mobile users, the first persons who experience the 800 MHz resolution are the radio microphone users. They have to change their equipment to work on the TV frequency areas. Unfortunate for the radio microphone users, the transfer is not that simple, because the microphones cannot be used on the same frequencies, which are used by the local terrestrial TV broadcasting. As a consequence, before using the microphone in a new location, the user should study tens of maps showing GE06 allotment plans, then he should go through a list of over 600 transmitters, and then look for any exceptions on the that location and frequency. For fixed installations made by professional audio engineers, the current guidance is feasible, but for other users the selection of the correct frequency becomes close to a random process. 
LVM is looking for written comments for the resolution. In order to help the microphone users, the following actions could take place:
- There should be an easy to use online service to help the radiomicrophone users in the frequency selection
- It should be possible to utilize a part of the suggested 5.4 M€ for such a service
- The online or otherwise machine readable information about the higher priority transmitters should be on the level that such a service can be implemented.

A demo of a possible radiomicrophone service can be found in