The licensing of spectrum in the Guernsey, as in the UK, is carried out by Ofcom, by virtue of powers given to it by the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006 and the Communications Act 2003 (referred to as WT Licences)
Certain parts of this legislation have been extended to Guernsey by the Communications (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Order 2003 and the Wireless Telegraphy (Guernsey) Order 2006.
WT Licenses are granted by Ofcom for Guernsey to authorise the use of radio spectrum. For many services such as business radio, fixed links etc, Ofcom processes these under a ‘business as usual’ approach, as for applications in the UK.
Those who wish to supply commercial radio communications services in Guernsey need first to apply to the Guernsey Competition & Regulatory Authority, which will consider the application and whether there is a need to either consult or, sometimes depending on consideration of responses to the consultation and other evidence arising, to hold a competitive award for spectrum. The Guernsey Competition & Regulatory Authority will then make any recommendations for spectrum licensing to Ofcom.
Where Ofcom judges the recommendation to be consistent with its statutory duties, a WT license will then be granted subject to payment of the appropriate spectrum fee, and the GCRA issues the relevant mobile license to allow a business to operate in Guernsey.
For the purposes of spectrum allocation, the respective roles of the Guernsey Competition & Regulatory Authority and Ofcom in coordinating the award of spectrum licenses in Guernsey as follows:
- Guernsey Competition & Regulatory Authority will ascertain the level and nature of demand for spectrum which is on offer.
- When the assessment and selection process is completed, a recommendation is provided to Ofcom.
- Ofcom issues licenses for spectrum use under the WTA where it considers it is satisfied the Guernsey Competition & Regulatory Authority's recommendation is consistent with its own statutory duties. The WT License includes a condition that refers to there being a local telecoms license in place issued by the Guernsey Competition & Regulatory Authority's relevant to the spectrum granted, failing which a Wireless Telegraphy Act license may be revoked.
Innovation and trial licence applications
The Guernsey Competition & Regulatory Authority and Ofcom have agreed a simple process for Guernsey operators to acquire innovation and trial licenses (which can be used for new 5G applications).
What is innovation and trial licensing?
This enables the use of radio spectrum to promote the development and trialling of innovative uses of the radio spectrum in the UK (including Guernsey). It covers:
- Development / research of innovative spectrum systems, applications or services ;
- Scientific research and experimentation ; and,
- Test, trial or demonstration of a new system, application or service (that does not fit within current license categories).
It does not permit any sort of commercial or operational use. There are two license classes:
- Innovation and Research (ie, those largely used for academic or research purposes) ; and,
- Demonstration and Trial (ie, those largely used on a non-commercial, non-permanent basis to trial a new system or radio concept or demonstrate a new radio system or concept).
In order to support 5G research and development, the Innovation and Trials licenses allow:
- Access to any frequency band (subject to coordination and availability);
- Quick, inexpensive access to radio spectrum for wireless tests, with licenses costing from £50;
- The ability to run trial scenarios involving consumers, to help build an understanding of how 5G services could be used.
Applications should be made directly to Ofcom. To access the application form please use the following link. It is also recommended that the Guernsey Competition & Regulatory Authority are advised of the application at an early stage:
As a matter of custom and practice, Guernsey is a member of the UK National Telephone Numbering Plan (NTNP), whereby geographic numbers and mobile numbers are distinguished by their prefix code. For example, fixed numbers in Guernsey are 01481.
For the purposes of number allocation, the respective roles of the Guernsey Competition & Regulatory Authority and Ofcom in coordinating the allocation of telephone numbers in the Channel Islands are as follows:
- Ofcom is responsible for the allocation of numbers for Guernsey. Operators will therefore apply directly to Ofcom for range allocation. Allocation will be dependent on a local telecoms license in place
- Ofcom will inform the Guernsey Competition & Regulatory Authority on receipt of such applications and of the outcome of its consideration of such applications
- The Guernsey Competition and Regulatory Authority includes conditions in the licenses of local operators concerning the management of Numbering.