Icelandic telecoms regulator the Post and Telecommunication Administration (PTA) has launched a public consultation on a proposed amendment to 365 Media’s authorisation to offer 4G services in the 800MHz band due to ‘special circumstances’. The regulator has invited all interested parties to submit their comments by 29 June 2015.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate in April 2013, the tender for Long Term Evolution (LTE)-suitable frequencies was launched in February 2013 and ended in mid-March, with 365 Media offering the highest bid (ISK100 million [USD740,000]) for frequency Block A (791MHz-801MHz/832MHz-842MHz), while also securing Block B (801MHz-806MHz/842MHz-847MHz) for ISK20 million. Under the terms set out by the concessions, the licensee was required to provide access with download speeds of 10Mbps to 99.5% of the population by end-2016, while the download speed must reach 30Mbps by 2020.
However, 365 Media has requested that the terms be amended, with the new proposal stating that 97% of the population should have access to downlink speeds of 10Mbps by end-2016, raising to 99.5% by end-2022, while 99.5% of the populace should be within the LTE footprint by 2024. The operator justified its request by stating that the state of the telecoms market has changed completely following the February/March 2013 auction, and that the ‘uniqueness’ that the company has developed in the wake of the tender no longer existed. 365 Media highlighted that it previously considered that it could provide high-speed wireless broadband access in rural areas ‘without strong competition’, but recent PTA decisions (the approval of Fjarskipti/Nova frequency sharing agreement and government’s plan to deploy state-funded fibre-optic network in rural areas) have diminished its competiveness.