PTA fines 365 for failing to meet 4G licence obligations; Vodafone looking to acquire the unit

19 Jan 2017

Icelandic telecoms regulator the Post and Telecommunication Administration (PTA) has decided to impose a fine on 365 Media, following its failure to meet its 800MHz licence obligation of offering broadband access to 70% of the population over its own infrastructure by 31 October 2016 (and covering 97% of the population with 10Mbps access by end-2016). The regulator said that the company claimed that it currently fulfilled the obligation under an MVNO agreement with Siminn, though the claim was not in compliance with the terms and conditions of its authorisation. With Decision No. 19/2016, the PTA imposed a fine of ISK100,000 (USD885) for each day of infringement, in effect from 16 January 2017 until 365 reached the required level of coverage.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, the operator requested an amendment to its 4G authorisation to offer 10Mbps speeds to 99.5% of the Icelandic populate in May 2015 due to ‘special circumstances’. 365 Media justified its demand by stating that the state of the telecoms market has changed completely following the February/March 2013 auction for 800MHz frequencies, thus diminishing its competitiveness.

Meanwhile, the PTA has also revealed that 365 Media and Vodafone Iceland (Fjarskipti) have been in acquisition talks since August 2016, with domestic news source IcelandReview claiming that Vodafone has offered ISK8 billion for the broadcaster/telecoms provider. Vodafone Iceland’s CEO Stefan Sigurdsson was cited as saying that the two sides were currently looking closely into the conditions of the deal (which has to be approved by the country’s competition authority), adding that the expected completion date would be in the first quarter of 2017.