Channel Island regulator says 4G by middle of 2014

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A next-generation mobile network is a step closer after a new consultation by the Channel Islands Competition and Regulatory Authorities (CICRA).

Andrew Riseley, from the regulator, hopes to be able to issue licences for 4G mobile networks in the first half of 2014.

The spectrum needed for 4G became available following the switch from analogue to digital television.

The change was due to happen at the end of 2013, at the same time as the UK.

The roll-out of 4G was delayed after the States of Guernsey decided to review the service and examine whether they could charge for the spectrum.

Scarce resource

Deputy Kevin Stewart was made Commerce and Employment Minister in May 2012 and said he was concerned the island was planning to give telecoms companies access to a scarce resource, rather than charging for them.

He said the Channel Islands were the only places in the world not to be selling radio spectrum to operators wanting to offer new 4G access.

The States of Jersey said at the time making the new technology available was more important than making money from it.

Mr Riseley said Commerce and Employment were still committed to imposing some charge on spectrum use.

He said they have examined the principle of charging and will look at the exact costs and process when there is a better idea of interest.

"In the event there is more demand than supply and we have to make choices on allocation, the timing we are looking at is early 2014. Ofcom will then have to issue the licences but have said it won't take long," said Mr Riseley.

The spectrum was previously used for analogue TV and radio microphones.

The consultation runs until 9 September and CICRA hopes to make its recommendations for the allocation of the frequencies early next year.

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