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Issue of RFA for third mobile licence
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 10 February 2011 21:36

Release of Request for Applications for a Third Mobile Licence in Solomon Islands

11 February 2011: The Telecommunications Commission of the Solomon Islands (TCSI) is today publishing a Request for Applications for a third mobile telecommunications operator and is inviting all prospective service providers to register their interest.  The winning applicant will receive a 15 year licence, permitting it to provide mobile services and use specified frequencies in the following radio frequency bands: 900, 1800 and 2100MHz (commonly used for GSM and 3G). 

The Telecommunications Commissioner, Nicholas Williams, said: "Currently, under the Telecommunications Act, anyone can submit an application for a mobile licence.  Today we are providing a framework within which applications can be made and considered at the same time.  We encourage potential applicants for the licence to study the opportunity presented.  We also advise them to register their interest with the TCSI so we can ensure that they receive all relevant information, including responses to questions asked during the tender process."

A comparative selection process or 'beauty contest' will be used to determine the successful applicant.  The TCSI will consider the following criteria when evaluating applications:

  • telecommunicatons sector experience;
  • the size of any upfront one-off fee applicants are prepared to pay for the licence; the size of any service coverage undertaking and associated demand guarantee they are prepared to provide;
  • financial capability to invest in the Solomon Islands telecom sector; and
  • their business plans. 

Commenting on the decision to use a 'beauty contest' procedure, Mr Williams said: "We previously considered using an auction arrangement for selecting the winning applicant.  However, it is not clear that any applicants will offer an upfront one-off fee for the licence.  They didn't do so in the previous licensing round.  This makes an auction unsuitable.  We also considered setting a fixed coverage obligation and effectively carrying out an auction of the amount of the financial guarantee that supports it, but we do not wish to prejudge such an obligation.  We have therefore decided to allow applicants to make coverage commitments of their own choosing based on their assessment of the market.  We believe the credibility of these commitments should be weighed with their financial guarantee, financial capability and business planning, as well as applicants' experience in other competitive telecom markets.  Hence we have adopted a 'beauty contest' process that is basically the same as that used when awarding the second mobile licence."

If no suitable applicant comes forward, the TCSI will not award the licence.  The TCSI does not intend to make available further mobile spectrum in the 900, 1800 and 2100MHz bands for a 12 month after the closing date for the Request for Applications. 

Copies of the Request for Applications can be downloaded here.  Prospective applicants can register their interest by sending an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  Applications for the licence are required by 5pm Honiara time on Friday 25 March and a decision on any licence awared is expected by 8 April. 

 

 
Tender for a 15 Year Licence for a Third Mobile Telecommunications Operator in Solomon Islands
Written by TCSI   
Wednesday, 01 December 2010 03:07

Tender for a 15 Year Licence for a Third Mobile Telecommunications Operator in Solomon Islands

As part of its efforts to develop the Solomon Islands telecommunications market, the Telecommunications Commission of Solomon Islands (TCSI) today announces its intention to conduct a competitive selection process for the entry into the market of a third telecommunications operator. In accordance with the Telecommunications Act 2009, the TCSI intends to issue a Request for Applications (RFA) detailing the selection process and licence terms by the first week of January.

It intends this process to conclude with an auction and licensing in the early part of 2011, if possible with applications before the end of February and licence issuance in March. The winning applicant will receive a 15 year radio frequency licence, permitting it to use specified frequencies in the Mobile Service bands: 900, 1800 and 2100MHz (commonly used for GSM and 3G). It will also receive a services licence, permitting it to provide mobile services in the Solomon Islands. The licences will be “technology neutral,” allowing the licensee to use any technology of its choice to provide mobile services consistent with international practices and regulations.

The TCSI currently:

  • intends the selection to be made in an auction process. The financial amount to be bid will not be a licence fee but rather the amount of the performance bond that the new licensee will provide as a guarantee for its network coverage obligations;
  • expects that the frequency licence will require the licensee to cover a specified percentage of the country’s population within a specified period after issuance of the licence. It is considering setting the population percentage at 35% and the period at twelve months;
  • does not intend to require any upfront licence fee for the new licence. Annual licence fees for the next several years in Solomon Islands will be 2% of gross revenues. No universal service fee may be introduced until September 2015 at the earliest. Interested parties should refer to the Telecommunications Act 2009 for details of all such fees;
  • expects to specify a minimum amount of information that applicants must provide to enable the TCSI to verify that they have the necessary experience to enter the Solomon Islands market;
  • intends the application process to allow for questions and answers as well as comments from potential applicants on the process and terms and conditions of the proposed licence. The TCSI may amend the RFA and proposed licences if necessary in light of such comments.

 

 
Internet Competition [Editorial]
Written by Nicholas Williams - Telecommunications Commissioner   
Friday, 24 September 2010 00:00

A number of correspondents to you have highlighted the need for increased internet competition as a means to improve service, price and availability.

I agree fully.

As Telecommunications Commissioner, I will be bringing forward an authorisation or licence to enable companies to offer internet services in competition with Solomon Telekom. Such competition is very much needed. Current internet connectivity is not of an international standard. We have seen recently the benefits that competition has brought to the mobile market and I very much hope we will see the same for internet provision (and, indeed, all telecommunications services).

Read more...
 
Telecommunications Commissioner to Address 2nd Australian Solomon Islands Business Forum
Written by TCSI   
Thursday, 21 October 2010 00:00

The Telecommunications Commissioner, Nicholas Williams, will be speaking at the 2nd Australia Solomon Islands Business Forum in Brisbane on Friday, 22 October.

The Forum provides an opportunity for the Solomon Islands to set out for potential investors the current economic and policy climate in the country and highlight some key opportunities for investment.

Mr Williams will be using the Forum specifically to encourage investors to become providers of internet services.

Read more...
 
Launch Delay to Cost BeMobile USD1.5M
Written by TCSI   
Tuesday, 29 June 2010 00:00

Nicholas Williams, the Telecommunications Commissioner, has today taken action against bemobile for its failure to launch a network by the due date in its licence. Specifically, the Commissioner has taken USD1.5m (one million, five hundred thousand US dollars) from a demand guarantee provided by bemobile to ensure its compliance with the network coverage obligation in its licence. The coverage obligation included an initial threshold requiring bemobile to launch a network serving 25% of the population by 18 June 2010.

The Commissioner has granted bemobile an extension until 30 August to become compliant with its licence.

Read more...
 
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