4G has begun to be activated in Guernsey this week after network provider Sure was granted its new network licence by the regulator, Channel Islands Competition and Regulatory Authority (CICRA) at the weekend.
Residents of Guernsey will be able to experience faster mobile download speeds, browse the web faster, and stream TV and music on mobile devices, with the launch of the island’s first 4G network from Sure. The brand new 4G network isn’t the only upgrade – the 2G and 3G networks will be replaced and improved too meaning that all customers will benefit.
Early in 2014 Sure entered into an agreement with Huawei Technologies to build a new 4G network in Guernsey, Jersey, and the Isle of Man and replace all existing 2G and 3G networks. Sure has spent an estimated £15m on the project, and began testing 4G in Guernsey in October 2014.
The Sure 4G Rollout
The Sure 4G rollout was planned in five phases, and the network is now entering the fourth phase. Having prepared masts and sites around the island of Guernsey they are now ready to complete the work on masts and switch on each on as it is completed.
Sure expects to be able to complete all the masts in Guernsey within six weeks and all sites will be finished by the end of April.
During this final phase there will be some network disruption to existing Sure customers as some mast will be out of use for a time, but the network has assured customers the improvement will be worth the disruption. The fifth phase of the rollout will be network checks and minor adjustments, and this shouldn’t cause disruption to customers.
4G for Sure Customers
So how can Sure customers benefit from 4G? Customers will need a 4G ready handset to be able to make use of the 4G network. If they already have one they don’t need to do anything as they will automatically have access to 4G as soon as the mast in their local area is activated.
While 4G won’t cost any extra, and is already included in all Sure price plans, 4G users are likely to require more data to get the best out of the new 4G service so they might want to consider upgrading their plan to one with a bigger data allowance.
According to Eddie Saints, Chief Executive at Sure, “Switching on the first 4G sites is a major milestone in this process and we’re looking forward to having our brand new 4G network completely live across the whole of the Bailiwick at the beginning of April. Every effort is being made to minimise the disruption to customers during this final stage but a project of this scale and complexity will unfortunately result in some disruption so we thank our customers in advance for their patience.”
While Sure is the first 4G network provider in Guernsey it won’t be the only one for long. Airtel-Vodafone looks to go live in April, with JT hoping to launch its state-of-the-art 4G network in early summer.