Ground laid for ‘next wave of mobile tech’

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Jersey Competition and Regulatory Authority chief executive Tim Ringsdore said that the organisation was committed to ensuring that any network sharing was done in a ‘fair manner’.

JT and Sure will have changes made to their licences to operate as part of the deal, which will allow them to use each other’s resources and networks. The companies have made commitments to competition laws to ease concerns about market dominance.

5G is the next generation of mobile network, which will allow faster data speeds and provide greater capacity.

A joint statement says: ‘New licence conditions will provide for clear obligations to ensure that any use of shared assets or networks is fully compatible with healthy competition, benefiting consumers through lower prices and faster rollout of new technology.

‘Sure and JT have also agreed to the introduction of certain obligations in relation to their internal compliance and training programmes to support their obligations under regulation and competition law.

‘Assuming those changes are adopted, the Jersey Competition and Regulatory Authority will provide further clarity on the issues to be considered in network sharing in the form of guidelines that will be issued for consultation later in 2021.’

Due to JT and Sure’s latest commitments, the JCRA has closed an investigation into an earlier memorandum of understanding on sharing resources, which the two firms entered into but then terminated.

Mr Ringsdore said that the new agreement ‘lays the ground for the next wave of mobile technology’.

He added: ‘The authority is clear that it will not allow companies to act in breach of the competition law, which is designed to ensure markets work well for the benefit of all consumers and business in Jersey.

‘We are determined that any requirements for network sharing, or any type of competitive sharing, such as 5G, are developed in a fair manner that lets all operators compete fairly.’

JT chief executive Graeme Millar said that the new arrangements would work better than the cancelled memorandum of understanding.

‘We fully intend to comply with the new licence conditions going forward which provide further clarity and a transparent structure,’ he said.

Sure chief executive Ian Kelly said that the organisation was ‘firmly committed’ to working with the JCRA to ensure compliance with competition guidelines.

Rival telecoms firm Airtel-Vodafone said, however, that it would like more detail on the new arrangements.

‘Airtel-Vodafone was aware that the JCRA was investigating JT and Sure for entering into anti-competitive arrangements/agreements regarding the rollout of 5G networks in Channel Islands,’ a statement said.

‘However, we did not know any detail or background to it. We are surprised to hear that this investigation has been closed without sharing any findings.

‘We would like to find out more about how any mast-sharing agreement and changes to licence conditions surrounding this will affect the telecoms industry as a whole.’

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