The Regulatory Authority of Bermuda (RAB) has formally announced the award of radio spectrum for rights to offer 4G services across the island, noting that it hopes the decision will allow for the rapid deployment of ultra-high speed services. In a first of its type for Bermuda, the regulator confirmed the issuance of spectrum to incumbents CellOne and Digicel Bermuda as follows:
• CellOne has been awarded the Lower B & C blocks of the 700MHz band (2×12MHz)
• Lower Band B 704-710MHz/734-740MHz
• Lower Band C 710-716MHz/740-746MHz
• Digicel has been awarded the Upper C blocks of the 700MHz band, as well as the B & B1 Blocks of the 850MHz band
• Upper Band C 746-757MHz/776-787MHz (2×11MHz)
• B 880.0-890.0MHz/835.0-845.0MHz (2×10MHz)
• B1 891.5-894.0MHz/846.5-849.0MHz (2×2.5MHz).
Furthermore, the RAB has set out that both mobile network operators (MNOs) are obliged to meet rollout targets for island-wide 4G coverage (indoor and outdoor) starting from next month, as follows:
• 75% mobile 4G service coverage within six months (CellOne)
• 50% mobile 4G service coverage within nine months (Digicel)
• 99.9% mobile 4G service coverage within twelve months (CellOne)
• 99.9% mobile 4G service coverage within twelve months (Digicel)
• an accelerated rollout of 4G service coverage by both cellcos for the western area of the island, specifically the land areas around the Great Sound and the sea area of the Great Sound itself, where the Americas Cup will take place in June 2017.
‘The award of this 4G spectrum is vital to ensuring that Bermuda’s mobile services catch up with other countries. Bermuda has been behind other countries far too long when it comes to the availability of high speed mobile broadband services. We recognise that the residents and businesses of Bermuda have hoped for and expected a full 4G service provision for a long while,’ the watchdog said in a statement. ‘The spectrum that has been awarded today has significant advantages with regard to outdoor and indoor mobile service coverage. In this context, the coverage obligations that
we have imposed on CellOne and Digicel, as part of their rollout of 4G network and services, will deliver far better coverage, at greater speeds, across all of Bermuda,’ it added.