TRC to auction LTE spectrum in October; commercial 4G expected in 1H16

2 Jul 2015

The British Virgin Islands (BVI) Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) has issued a provisional timetable for the introduction of 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) spectrum, which could be made available as soon as October. A new consultation document published on 30 June confirms that the regulator is evaluating the introduction vacant spectrum in the 450MHz, 700MHz, 1800MHz, 1900MHz, 2100MHz and 2500MHz bands. The TRC notes however, that the strongest interest to date is for rights to offer 4G in the 700MHz band, which has been used for LTE in the United States and a wide number of Caribbean nations.

TRC officials are asking that stakeholders review the report and give their responses by 28 July, paving the way for the publication of draft frequency authorisations by the middle of August 2015. Spectrum applications would be due in mid-September, with licences granted the following month. TRC chief executive Guy Malone said: ‘The release of this consultation represents the significant progress that is being made in moving forward the delivery of competitive 4G LTE services across the Virgin Islands during the first half of 2016.’

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the territory’s three mobile service providers – LIME, Digicel and CCT Wireless – have all confirmed their interest in deploying the LTE standard as soon as frequencies become available. Locally-owned CCT tested 4G technology in May 2014, but the trial proved problematic, and later that month the TRC levelled a fine of USD50,000 at the cellco for its unauthorised use of 700MHz spectrum.