Channel Island 4G rollout 'will take a year'

John Curran
Image caption John Curran said it would be the largest spectrum award in the islands

It will take about a year before next generation mobile broadband is available in the Channel Islands, according to the regulator.

The Channel Islands Competition Regulatory Authority (CICRA) is looking at ways to make fourth generation mobile available.

John Curran, CEO of CICRA, said he was expecting high demand for the spectrum made available from digital switchover.

He said due to negotiations with France it would take until 2013.

Mr Curran said: "In terms of the spectrum being available to use we are looking at 2013 as there are some co-ordination issues with spectrum in France we need to resolve.

"We are working with OfCom who manage that for us but it will be next year before it is available for use."

4G competition

The regulator is asking operators for their views on whether it should be auctioned off or given to the companies that want it.

As part of that process he said they would be looking at how much competition the spectrum could take.

He said: "The governments in Jersey and Guernsey have made it clear to us that raising revenue is not the key driver for this.

"Their interest is making sure the spectrum is made available in a way that promotes competition, promotes new services and promotes innovation."

Mr Curran said the market was considerably smaller in the islands, so he would suggest an alternative to an auction might be better.

CICRA plans to make spectrum available in the 800MHz and 2600MHz bands in early 2013, the 800MHZ space is from digital switchover.

Mr Curran said this was the largest single award of spectrum to be made so far in the Channel Islands and would be used for years to come.

He said: "It is vital for the economies in both islands that we get the award right.

"Technology has dramatically changed how we communicate over the past few years with the use of wireless devices, such as tablets and smartphones, to stay in touch and to conduct business."

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