The licensing of spectrum in the Channel Islands, 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 Jersey by the Communications (Jersey) Order 2003, the Wireless Telegraphy (Jersey) Order 2006, and to Guernsey by the Communications (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Order 2003 and the Wireless Telegraphy (Guernsey) Order 2006.
WT Licences granted by Ofcom for the Channel Islands 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 the Channel Islands need first to apply to CICRA, 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. CICRA will then make any recommendations for spectrum licensing to Ofcom.
Where Ofcom judges the recommendation to be consistent with its statutory duties, a licence will then be granted subject to payment of the appropriate spectrum fee.
For the purposes of spectrum allocation, the respective roles of CICRA and Ofcom in coordinating the award of spectrum licences in the Channel Islands are as follows:
- CICRA 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 licences for spectrum use under the WTA where it considers it is satisfied CICRA’s recommendation is consistent with its own statutory duties. The WT Licence include a condition that refers to there being a local telecoms licence in place issued by the JCRA or GCRA relevant to the spectrum granted, failing which a Wireless Telegraphy Act licence may be revoked.
Innovation and trial licence applications
CICRA and Ofcom have agreed a simple process for Channel Island operators to acquire innovation and trial licences (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 the Channel Islands). 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 licence categories).
It does not permit any sort of commercial or operational use. There are two licence 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 licences allow:
- Access to any frequency band (subject to coordination and availability);
- Quick, inexpensive access to radio spectrum for wireless tests, with licences 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 CICRA are advised of the application at an early stage:
As a matter of custom and practice, the Channel Islands are members 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 Jersey are 01534, and 01481 in Guernsey.
For the purposes of number allocation, the respective roles of CICRA 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 the Channel Islands. Operators will therefore apply directly to Ofcom for range allocation. Allocation will be dependent on a local telecoms licence in place
- Ofcom will inform CICRA on receipt of such applications and of the outcome of its consideration of such applications
- CICRA includes conditions in the licences of local operators concerning the management of Numbering.