RA Awards Spectrum To Enable 4G Networks

October 26, 2016

[Updated] The Regulatory Authority announced that it has “awarded radio spectrum to enable a rapid and comprehensive roll out of 4G superfast mobile broadband network and services across the island.”

“The contest for the award of spectrum is a first of its kind in Bermuda,” the RA said. “After an intensive assessment of applications made to the Authority for 4G spectrum, the following awards of spectrum have been made along with the various obligations listed below:

  • CellOne has been awarded the Lower B & C Blocks of the 700 MHz Band
  • Digicel has been awarded the Upper C Blocks of the 700 MHz Band as well as the B & B’ Blocks of the 850 MHz Band

“As a condition to the award of the spectrum to both CellOne and Digicel, the Authority has mandated the following island wide coverage obligations on both operators from next month:

  • 75% mobile 4G service coverage within 6 months for CellOne.
  • 50% mobile 4G service coverage within 9 months for Digicel.
  • 99.9% mobile 4G service coverage within 12 months for CellOne.
  • 99.9% mobile 4G service coverage within 18 months for Digicel.
  • An accelerated roll out of 4G superfast mobile service coverage by both CellOne and Digicel for the western area of the island, specifically the land area around the Great Sound and the sea area of the Great Sound itself, where the America’s Cup race will take place in June 2017.

The RA added, “With regard to all of the above coverage obligations, they are accompanied by obligations to provide superfast speeds, including when indoors. If either, or both, CellOne and Digicel fail to meet any of the above obligations they will incur significant financial penalties.

“In addition, a net neutrality obligation has also been placed on both CellOne and Digicel that will promote access to new and innovative internet based information, content, applications and services.The Authority believes that all the above deliverables will transform the mobile services available in Bermuda.

Chief Executive of the Authority, Matthew Copeland, commented, “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 recognize that the residents and businesses of Bermuda have hoped for and expected a full 4G service provision for a long while.

“We also recognize that the residents and businesses of Bermuda want a significant improvement in the quality and coverage of the mobile phone services available in Bermuda.

“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.

“With regards to the America’s Cup area coverage, the Authority is pleased that CellOne and Digicel are delivering this accelerated coverage of 4G services for the Great Sound area.

“This event will be very important for the Bermuda economy and a key showcase for the country. The Authority views mobile 4G service delivery as essential for this event, hence the related obligations.

“Finally, the Authority is aware that in other countries various mobile networks have restricted access and usage of internet-based based services. The net neutrality obligation imposed by the Authority will help ensure that the possibility of this occurring in Bermuda does not arise.”

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Update Oct 27, 11.11am: In response to the RA ruling, a spokesperson for CellOne said: “As the first to roll out 4G LTE in Bermuda, we are delighted by the decision of the Regulatory Authority which means we can progress our plans to roll out the service to the rest of the Island. This is exciting news for us and our customers and will increase the level of service we are able to provide.”

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Comments (11)

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  1. 4ner says:

    Yes, that’s correct – the “4G” service Digicel has been selling you has never actually been 4G

  2. Micro says:

    It would just be nice to have actual cell service inside my house, heck I’d even settle just for having service inside my neighbourhood.

  3. Tom Cooke says:

    I was working within 500 yards of the cell tower on whites island. ..last summer.. I did not notice an increase in my “edge ” signel at all let alone 3G for the last time these guys where here.. I hope it improves. .. the RA can spout off what it wants as far as I can see… as my grandmother used to say… the prof is in the pudding. ..

  4. Hard at work says:

    I don’t really care how many G’s of data I get. I’d just like to get cell phone service inside my house! It used to be good but the hurricanes of 2014 took out the tower and it’s sucked ever since. I literally have to step out of the door to answer the phone and even then it’s anybody’s guess if it’s going to work. Both of these companies are terrible. We need a 3rd option!

  5. someones says:

    Please please please can you build it with enough capacity so that when more than 100 people are in one area, the damn thing still works. The current network is so embarrassing. You have a city like Manhattan with millions in a tight small area, works fine. You come to Bermuda, 3000 people at cupmatch and it comes screaching to a halt.

    If We are all out at America’s cup, people will be taking and uploading videos so it better bloody work or RA should fine them significantly if it doesnt.

  6. Anthoney says:

    Amazing! Thyank you RA, i only took you 6 years!!!

    • New Bermudian says:

      COnsidering that the RA’s only been in existence since 2013, that’s a very interesting perspective!

  7. Say Whaat? says:

    Why aren’t both CellOne & Digicel given the same deadlines? Can someone make that plain to the non-tech people?

    • Simone says:

      ……..”CellOne currently enjoys a competitive advantage over
      Digicel due to the fact that CellOne is licensed to use two blocks of HDS
      spectrum below 1 GHz (in the 700 MHz and 850 MHz bands). This spectrum
      has particularly favourable propagation characteristics for indoor
      penetration. Digicel, by contrast, currently has no HDS frequencies below 1