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Will I need a filter when the 5G mobile broadband services start in 2020?

Over the last six years some Freeview users have had to fit special filter devices to the back of their Freeview television sets to deal with overloading signals caused by 4G mobile broadband. When 5G broadband starts in mid-2020, will this happen again?0

published on UK Free TV

Freeview Deja vu

Yes, we have been here before.   Back in January 2013, UK Free TV looked at the upcoming issues with the potential problems that 4G mobile broadband might cause for Freeview.

The issue arose because the new mobile broadband services were using frequencies that had been used for Freeview and analogue TV before them.   The peaceful coexistence of digital television and digital mobile data services was expected, but not a given.

The good news is that the projected levels of problems for Freeview users turned out to be quite accurate and quite low.   The Hundreds of millions that were put aside have been returned to the mobile broadband companies, lowering the price to their customers. 



The new generation of mobile broadband services will operate in addition to the current ones (GSM, 3G and 4G) in the UK, and will use the 700MHz band of frequencies have been “cleared” by several years of careful chess-like manipulation of the frequencies that Freeview uses.

The new generation of services will use much smaller “cells” of operation from each mobile mast.   Each mobile phone tower will be like a immobile glitter-ball, diving into many hundreds the sub-areas operated from each mobile phone mast.   Tests have shown that this will be able to increase the real-world data rates for each mobile broadband customer.


Will I need my existing filter?

If you already had a 4G mobile phone filter, once all of the Freeview frequency changes have happened (June 2020) you will be able to remove it from you TV set or set top box as it will no longer be required.  

It won’t protect you from the 5G services, so you will need to send it for suitable recycling.  


Will I need a 5G 700MHz filter?

The quick answer is probably not.

The longer answer is that you will need to get a (free, presumably) filter if:

  • Your TV aerial points in the direction of a 5G mobile tower; and
  • Your Freeview signal is sub-optimal; and
  • You are using a TV signal amplifier.

If the above conditions are true, you will also need to be:

  • Using a multiplex broadcast on C47 or C48 – the new top of the Freeview range;
  • Have a mast with a 5G service (they will take years to roll out)
  • Be using the BBCB multiplex for Freeview HD (as they will use C47/C48)


I have updated the page at to highlight the transmitters with C47/C48 after 700MHz clearance is complete.

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Monday, 11 March 2019
Andrew Ripley
6:01 PM

The filter manufacturers will be busy, and also those of masthead amplifiers, but their designers will be muttering into their coffee.

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Andrew Ripley's 1 post GB
Tuesday, 12 March 2019
Brian Butterworth

9:42 AM

Andrew Ripley: I guess that this whole process was always going to be like this.

It was always possible that Freeview could have cleared itself into the lower range that it will use by 2021 earlier, but it would have caused a lot of cost and disruption to an unmanageable number of homes.

There is still likely changes ahead in the next decade too.

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Brian Butterworth's 38,844 posts GB
Saturday, 16 March 2019
Chris Warner
8:10 PM

I seem to be unable to tune my smart TVs to receive Free Sports from either my local Guildford transmitter or London. Is this station not yet available in these areas?

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Chris Warner's 13 posts GB
Sunday, 17 March 2019

10:44 PM

Chris Warner: FreeSports is broadcast on the COM8 multiplex from Crystal Palace, although you will need a wideband aerial rather the Group A which was commonly used for Crystal Palace in the past. If you provide a full postcode we can see what reception of COM8 is predicted to be like at your location.

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StevensOnln1's 3,475 posts GB
Monday, 17 June 2019
8:23 PM

Freeview not working at all in my area (west London). freeview say I need a new ariel (not happening anytime soon - communal building, and also, other locals (not in my building - different roads) also not receiving. or that I should buy and try and new tv or pay for cable / satellite services! (what happened to the 'free' bit in the name?)

freeview have completely dismissed me (and us), they're not interested. I have had no watchable freeview service since the 5G rollout.

I've just cancelled my tv licence and have informed tv licencing that when I get a watchable signal again, I will re-instate. Anyone have any workable, not-cost-a-small-fortune suggestions to get a signal? don't trust anything free(no)view say anymore, have had enough of their stonewalling and denial.

have tried re-tuning, manual and auto, all the'suggestions' (thanks for all the wasted time, Free(no)view).

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notvsince5g's 1 post GB

10:35 PM


You should have firstly checked with your neighbours in the building whether they had the same problem.

Having stopped your TV Licence you will now be acting illegally if you try to watch ANY live broadcasts - even if you use a streamed service.

5G is not the cause of your problems as there are as yet almost no transmissions of 5G signals. There has not even been the usual offering of frequencies for 5G use! All there are at present are few trials and nopthing more.

As you are claimimg to be in West London, it is likely that you get your signals from the Crystal Palace main transmitter which serves over 8 million people. There are no known problems with that transmitter. If there were, websites such as this and others would have been swamped with complaints.

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MikeP's 3,056 posts GB
Sunday, 3 November 2019
11:52 AM
Kings Langley

My postcode is WD49JD but I am using Crystal Palace as I cannot 'see' the Hemel Hempstead transmitter. This has been fine for ever, but recently I've had a lot of problems with PSB3. My TV has tuned to it on C30 but according to your listing it should be on C48; however if I go on your Frequency checker page it shows C30 on Crystal Place and not C48! So I'm not sure if I am picking up a rogue C30 signal from somewhere (because there is some issue, maybe 5G as there are masts near me), or if it is coming from CP and I have a different issue.

Can you please clarify whether I should be looking for C30 or C48? Thanks

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Iain's 1 post GB

1:58 PM


First, you are unlikely to have any issues from any 5G, there are so few of them about yet and their frequencies are much higher than the PSB3 multiplex from Crystal Palace.

You are indeed getting the signal from Crystal Place. The listing here is out of date, unfortunately the site owner has not kept all the listings of 1100+ transmitters up-to-date with all the 700MHz changes across the country. The channels used by Crystal Palace are 23, 26, 30, 25, 22. 28, 55, 56 in the order PSBs1-3, COMs 4-8

Unfortunately as a result of changes to the DigitalUK and Freeview sites last week, I cannot give you a direct link to the predicted reception at your location but I have found a round-about way of doing it. The following link will take you to a London region page
Freeview Detailed Coverage Checker | Freeview

If you want predicted reception, scroll down the page slightly and click on "Summary view". Scroll just over halfway down the new page and click on "Detailed view". It will now display all the transmitters and multiplexes that are predicted to give some reception at your location. You'll note the following -
For Crystal Palace the aerial should have the rods horizontal, pointing 138degrees (~SE).
For Hemel Hemstead the aerial should have the rods vertical, pointing 58 degrees (~slightly S of NE).
Also note there are no COMs 7&8 at Hemel Hemstead.

As I can't find any report of Predicted Engineering at Crystal Palace during the last week (there were some issues about 3 or 4 weeks ago), In view of your current problems I would check all you coax plugs, connections, flyleads etc, unplug connectors check for corrosion or other problems and reconnect them. See what signal strengths and quality you are getting for the multiplexes shown in your TV's tuning section, this might indicate whether you have any aerial or downlead problems. Also check that your downlead looks undamaged and that your aerial seems intact and pointing in the correct direction.
Problematic connections, water ingress etc. can seem to affect reception of just an individual or several multiplexes.

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Chris.SE's 3,337 posts GB
Tuesday, 5 November 2019
8:42 AM

I,Live in Worthing and get my free view from the Isle of Wight,I have no signal.Will I need a new Ariel and cable

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G.L.G.Lewis's 1 post GB

10:15 AM

G.L.G.Lewis: There have been no recent changes at the Rowridge transmitter. Start by checking for any loose or damaged cables or connections behind your TV, unplug and check each cable one at a time for any signs of damage before plugging back in, then follow the cable back as far as you can safely access towards the aerial. You would only need a new aerial and/or cable if they have been damaged by the weather or become too corroded over time to maintain a good connections throughout the whole aerial system.

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StevensOnln1's 3,475 posts GB
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