According to an unconfirmed report by Telecompaper, the Norwegian Post & Telecoms Authority (NPT) has received an application for frequencies in the 2GHz band for use on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. The application reportedly seeks two 20MHz frequency blocks in the 1920MHz-1980MHz and 2110MHz-2170MHz spectrum bands. If the application is approved by the watchdog, the company concerned will retain the right to transfer the spectrum permit or to lease out frequencies to another operator. The permit will be valid until 31 December 2032, and involve an annual licence fee of NOK34,000 (USD5,862). If the regulator receives another expression of interest in the spectrum it has said that it may hold an auction for the frequencies; competing bids must be submitted by 19 April.
Svalbard, which is midway between mainland Norway and the North Pole, previously hit the telecoms headlines in June 2011 when Telenor launched a Long Term Evolution (LTE) base station there, which it claimed was the northernmost 4G network in the world at that time. The site uses Huawei’s SingleRAN LTE solution and is located in Longyearbyen, Svalbard’s largest settlement, where temperatures drop to as low as 50 degrees below zero in winter.
Telenor opened its first telegraph station in Svalbard in 1911 and the territory has provided communications for shipping and aviation since the days of the Titanic. Svalbard now serves Norway’s International Maritime Organisation, which has responsibility for safety at sea, covering the area between Scotland and the North Pole.