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Shure wants UK 4G spectrum for radio mics

Audio electronics company Shure has issued a petition for “clean spectrum” here in the UK, since it claims 4G networks are threatening live performances in this country.

Shure is a highly respected audio company that’s well known for making good-quality earphones such as the Shure SE112m+. However, it’s also a significant player in the professional audio market.

On a new, specially created website called “Losing Your Voice”, Shure lays out a major issue that’s threatening live performances in the UK.

The company points out that wireless mic setups are essential to all manner of live performances, including big events, corporate conferences, and even local church services. For these wireless mics to work – after electricity, of course – access to a clean radio-frequency spectrum is needed.

This is being threatened in the UK. For a long time now, wireless microphone systems have operated on UHF bands IV and V, which is between 470MHz and 854MHz. This range is particularly desirable because it sports “the largest quantity of high-quality spectrum required for large professional events.”

However, in recent years that area of the spectrum has been encroached upon by 4G networks. 800MHz has been cleared for 4G usage in the UK, and now the mobile sector has its eyes on the 700MHz band as well.

As you can see, this means that wireless mic systems are being squeezed out of the spectrum they’ve traditionally had to themselves.

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The UK electromagnetic spectrum, as Shure points out, is a finite national resource – like gold or oil. “If the trend continues, there may soon be insufficient amounts of spectrum available to reliably operate wireless audio systems in the UK,” the company says.

As such, Shure wants a dedicated section of the radio-frequency spectrum that’s reserved for wireless audio systems, and is off-limits to those greedy mobile operators. With 4G usage rapidly rising in the UK, we suspect the company will have a fight on its hands to get it.

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