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700 MHz Migration

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​The release of the 694-790MHz (700MHz) spectrum band should happen in European Member States by 30 June 2020. The European Parliament and the Council has adopted a formal Decision to this effect. Digital terrestrial television services (DTT) in Ireland currently use this spectrum. After June 2020 mobile broadband services will use this  spectrum. The changes will require a significant amount of work on the transmission network.

The 30th June 2020 is the date adopted for completing the clearance of the band across the EU.   The EU Official Journal of 25 May 2017 contains the legal act. It entered into force 20 days after this date on 14th June.

The European Commission has published a Digital Single Market Strategy. This highlights the importance of the 700MHz band for the provision of broadband services in rural areas. The band is particularly attractive for wireless broadband services, allowing higher speeds and greater coverage over long distances. 

The Department worked on a range of issues aimed at delivering a managed migration of broadcasting services from this band. The Department did this work in consultation with ComReg and 2RN (formerly known as RTÉ Networks). Ireland and Northern Ireland had a common date for the process on 4th September 2019.  The changes to Freeview in Northern Ireland happened on 4th September 2019. 2rn are operated a simculast period during which 2rn transmitted Saorview DTT on both "700MHz frequencies" and "sub 700MHz frequencies"  at most affected sites. The Saorview simculast period ended on 4th March 2020.

The Department also produced a National Roadmap on the Use of the 700MHz Frequency Band, which sets out the steps involved in the migration of broadcasting services from the band, and its release for mobile broadband services.


Ireland entrusted RTÉ with the task of migrating its national digital terrestrial television services from the 700MHz band.  This assists in the delivery of this project of common European interest, Thus Ireland will meet international and EU obligations.

The Minister in a letter dated 15 December 2016 entrusted RTÉ with this service of general economic interest. RTE subsidiary 2rn operate the DTT transmission network.

Minister's Letter of Entrustment to RTÉ Chair (PDF 424KB)


The move from the 800MHz band (i.e. Digital Switch-Over) took place in 2012. It involved clearing the band and establishing the replacement digital network. It also provided a number of clear benefits to terrestrial broadcasters. These included: 

  • the introduction of digital technologies in place of the previous analogue systems, and
  • the ability to provide a greater number of channels and services.    

On that basis, broadcasters, including RTÉ, bore the financial burden.

The benefits from the 700MHz migration will go primarily to wireless broadband operators. Users of their services will also benefit, as will the State.  This is different to the 2012 situation. There is no tangible benefit to the broadcasting operators or DTT viewing households from the change. 

In this regard, the Department has established a mechanism to provide compensation to the public service multiplex operator, RTÉ. The compensation will cover the direct cost of migrating from the 700MHz band. In that way, RTÉ will receive compensation in line with relevant EU State Aid rules. Only efficiently incurred costs associated with clearing the 700MHz band are to be compensated.

ComReg engaged independent consultants, Frontier Economics, to carry out an analysis and assessment of the proposed costs. This process confirmed that the works which 2rn proposed to undertake on the network are fully consistent with and strictly appropriate to the 700MHz migration project.  Work that fell outside the scope of this project was not to be included. The report provides details of the methodology used by the consultants in undertaking this work.  It also details the methodology that ComReg used to ensure that no over-compensation arises as a result of this process.

The Frontier Economics Report and other relevant documentation are available below:

Frontier Economics Report (15 December 2016 - PDF 2080 KB)

Cost Methodology (PDF 171 KB)

Methodology to Avoid Over Compensation  (PDF 63 KB)

Outline of Cost Recovery Mechanism (PDF 125 KB)

Agreed 2rn Accounting and Cost Controls (PDF 481 KB)

In 2017, ComReg engaged Frontier Economics to analyse the costs that 2rn had incurred up to late 2017, and those costs 2rn expected to incur after that date, as a result of migration from the 700 MHz band. This report aims to ensure that RTE get the correct compensation at the correct time. There will be two payment phases, as set out in the recommendations in 2016. A copy of the report is available below.

Frontier Economics Report (19 December 2017 - PDF 937 KB)

Further information is available on the ComReg website.

International co-ordination of Ireland’s DTT Spectrum Plan

ComReg has published further information on agreements between ComReg and Ofcom (the UK regulatory authority) and frequency co-ordination with France. They have also published an agreed frequency plan with the administrations of Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the UK. 

Further information is available on the ComReg website.