CellOne and Digicel win 4G licenses for Bermuda rollout
01 November 2016 | James Pearce
CellOne and Digicel have both been awarded spectrum licenses by Bermuda’s regulator to enable the launch of 4G services on the island.
The Regulatory Authority of Bermuda (RAB) gave CellOne spectrum in the lower B and C blocks of the 700MHz band, while Digicel took the upper C blocks of the same frequency, plus the B and B blocks of the 850MHz band.
Both operators will be subject to island-wide coverage obligations in return for access to the spectrum. CellOne must reach 75% 4G service coverage within six months, while it is tasked with hitting 99.9% within a year of receiving the license.
Digicel must hit 50% coverage within nine months of receiving the license, and 99.9% within the first 18 months.
The regulator has also placed a a net neutrality obligation on both companies, in an attempt to promote access to new internet-based information, content, applications, and services.
When awarding the spectrum, RAB also called for an accelerated 4G rollout in the western part of the island, specifically the areas around the Great Sound, which is set to host the Americas Cup 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,” RAB 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.”