Channel Islands 4G Moves Closer After Spectrum Auction


Jersey Telecom, Sure and Airtel Vodafone win 4G spectrum for Jersey and Guernsey

Smartphone users in the Channel Islands will soon be able to access 4G services after the Channel Islands Competition and Regulatory Authorities (CICRA) awarded LTE spectrum licences to three bidders.

While part of the British Isles, the Channel Islands are not in the UK or the European Union and are governed as crown dependencies. This means they have their own communication providers and are not covered by EE, O2, Three or Vodafone’s 4G networks.

Jersey Telecom, Sure and Airtel Vodafone were all successful in having submitted bids when the application process started in June, and all three have committed to coverage and speed requirements.

Channel Islands 4G

Guernsey“The three winning operators have demonstrated a strong commitment to invest in 4G technology which is an emphatic vote of confidence for the Channel Islands,” says CICRA chief executive Michael Byrne. “Customers are the ultimate winners and will benefit from greater capacity and speed when transmitting data that’s available from 4G. We look forward to seeing new innovative services that utilise spectrum.”

Now that the bidding process has been completed, CICRA will work with the UK regulator Ofcom to ensure that the Channel Islands receive 4G as soon as possible, and will also impose measures to ensure that customers are not subject to bill shock when the leave the islands.

“We have also ensured the issue of ‘bill shock,’ when people use data roaming off-island with their mobile devices which results in high charges is not an issue for 4G services,” explains Byrne. “This has been a longstanding problem for mobile customers using 3G. It is even more vital this is addressed now given the potential amounts of data 4G is designed to deliver.”

Digital islands

The development has been welcomed by Digital Jersey, which says the arrival of 4G will bring a wealth of social and economic benefits to the island.

“This is another step towards Jersey becoming one of the best-connected jurisdictions in the world,” claims the organisation’s Paul Masterton. “We look forward to welcoming the roll out of 4G from the three operators in the near future.”

Residents of the Isle of Man, another UK crown dependency, are also set to receive 4G in their near future, with Manx Telecom and Sure Isle of Man both awarded 800MHz and 1800MHz spectrum by the Manx government earlier this year.

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