28 August 2018

Innovation and Trial Spectrum & Licenses to trial 5G services are now available in the Channel Islands

You will have heard of 3G and more recently 4G, but over the next few years mobile technology will take another leap forward with the advent of 5G.

5G is more than a new generation of technologies; it denotes a new era in which connectivity will become increasingly fluid and flexible. 5G Networks will adapt to applications and performance will be tailored precisely to the needs of the user, which will be more cost effective to operate and dramatically improve quality of service.

With estimates that 5G could account for as many as 1.4 billion connections with networks covering one third of the world’s population by 2025, the impact on the mobile industry and its customers will be profound.

Working closely with the local mobile operators pioneering 5G, The Channel Islands Competition and Regulatory Authorities (The Competition Authority) has engaged with the Channel Island governments and key stakeholders to develop a framework for the introduction of new licenses and spectrum for 5G. These are necessary to ensure that the Channel Island economies, and particularly its digital sectors, can harness the future power of 5G for the benefit of all.

The Competition Authority has already held discussions with Ofcom in the UK (who manage the spectrum allocation on the Channel Islands’ behalf) to ensure the appropriate spectrum (radio frequencies) will be available to local operators. The Competition Authority is pleased to announce that innovation and trial spectrum and licenses are now available, allowing operators and software developers to pioneer new applications and services in the Islands ahead of any commercial services, which may be launched sometime in 2020/21.

This will allow the Channel Islands to remain at the forefront of developments and enable businesses to come to the Channel Islands and work with local operators and businesses to develop new services in a safe and secure environment to launch global services from the Islands.

The Competition Authority has organised a 5G summit on 26 November 2018 in Guernsey to provide public information regarding all aspects of 5G and, in particular, how stakeholders will work together to ensure the Islands gain the most from this exciting technology. Government officials including representatives from both IslandsPlanning and Environment departments will take part in the summit to ensure everyone understands the challenges and opportunities that this new technology may deliver to the Islands.

Tim Ringsdore, Director at the Channel Islands Competition and Regulatory Authorities, said:

We have worked very closely with Ofcom to ensure the Channel Islands have the right amount of spectrum to enable 5G services in the future. The announcement today of a formal process agreed by Ofcom and CICRA for operators to acquire innovation/test spectrum and licenses should provide a clear message to the outside world that the Channel Islands is open for new business and we will encourage developers from all over the world to come to the Islands and work with Digital Jersey, Greenhouse Guernsey and local operators to develop new world class solutions.

Lucy Witham, The Digital Greenhouse Guernsey, said:

“We are delighted with the news that spectrum and innovation/test licenses are now available. We see 5G as a great opportunity for Guernsey to take advantage of this new technology for the benefit of local consumers but to also show case the great work that is already happening in the digital sector of Guernsey. We will continue to support and work with CICRA to create a world class environment for those who wish to take advantage of this exciting new technology”.

There remains significant work to provide viable commercial solutions, but the Islands are well placed to take advantage of this new technology, enhancing the digital sectors, providing new jobs and revenues for the economies. 

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