ECOI to extend most frequency licences to 31 March 2023

13 Dec 2021

The Electronic Communications Office of Iceland (ECOI) has revealed plans to extend most frequency authorisations set to expire in 2022-2023 until 31 March 2023 in order to harmonise the validity of all operating concessions. The regulator held a public consultation on the matter in the summer of 2021, laying out plans to extend all frequency rights for another 20 years, while also imposing updated coverage and quality of service (QoS) obligations on the licensees. The ECOI said that the obligations in question have not yet been formulated; it will hold a special consultation with frequency rights holders on the above-mentioned development plans next summer.

Regarding the phasing out of 2G and 3G services, the ECOI stated that ‘it has now come to the point to stop operating older mobile technology’, as it is ‘inefficient and inconsistent with environmental considerations to maintain and operate many mobile network systems, including systems that do not meet modern needs’. However, the watchdog conceded that it needs to take appropriate mitigation measures, setting 2025 as the deadline for the switch-off of GSM/UMTS networks.

Further, the ECOI plans to hold another consultation on the planned allocation of a 2×10MHz block in the 700MHz band to Oryggisfjarskipti for emergency telecoms services, on the condition that the company shares the frequencies with operators that provide general communications services.