URCA Opens New Spectrum Bands

The Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) has today opened the 700MHz, 11GHz, 12GHz and 42GHz spectrum bands. In support of these openings, URCA has also today issued the policies which govern URCA’s administration of these bandwidths, including the terms and conditions by which licenses will be awarded (URCA document reference ECS 09/2012).

The 700 MHz spectrum band, ranging from 698 MHz to 806 MHz, is expected to draw significant industry interest. The range offers broad coverage and high capacity making it especially suited to the latest generation of mobile and fixed data technologies. Globally, it is the dominant band for the 4th Generation mobile technology, LTE, or Long Term Evolution, which is the technology used by the most advanced mobile networks in the United States and other major economies.

The 700 MHz band, which may be used to provide fixed and mobile electronic communications services, has been packaged by URCA into channels of 6MHz each. An operator may apply for a maximum of four of these 6 MHz channels, or 24 MHz of spectrum. Details of the packaging of the band are set out in the Policy.

Given the anticipated high demand for the 700 MHz spectrum band, URCA today also issued a Request for Applications (RFA). The RFA comprises an invitation to interested parties to apply for blocks of the spectrum. Applicants will be assessed according to criteria of capability and means to deliver high quality services, to ensure that priority is given to those with the best capacity to deliver services that will serve the best interests of the public. Successful applicants will be subject to strict roll-out timeframes, including extension of their networks to multiple islands in The Bahamas. The band will attract spectrum fees of $6,000 per MHz per year (mobile use prohibited) and $8,000 per MHz per year (for unrestricted use), and will be licensed for fifteen (15) years consistent with URCA’s licensing guidelines.

The RFA stipulates a May 4, 2012, deadline for applications. Applications must be strictly compliant with the RFA to receive consideration from URCA.

Applications for the other newly opened bands may be submitted as per URCA’s usual spectrum licensing process.

A copy of the press release in full may be downloaded below, in addition to the following listed documents:

• ECS 08/2012: Statement of Results – Consultation on Policy for New Spectrum Bands – 700MHz, 11GHz, 12GHz and 42GHz • ECS 09/2012: Policy for New Spectrum Bands – 700 MHz, 11GHz, 12GHz and 42 GHz • ECS 10/2012: Request for Applications for 700 MHz Spectrum