Sure applies to States of Guernsey to approve acquisition of Airtel
- A faster, more reliable mobile network: Sure will invest in a new, next-generation 5G mobile network, bringing high-speed data services and improved coverage. A third fewer sites are needed for this network, lessening the environmental impact on Guernsey
- A fair deal for consumers: Sure will commit to legally binding promises that guarantee great value, improved services and security, and facilitate fair competition
- Economic benefits: Building on the investment in the fibre network, Sure will invest a total of up to £62m across 5G and fibre in Guernsey by the end of 2026 to futureproof the island’s networks
Sure’s proposed acquisition of Airtel will trigger significant investment introducing 5G mobile connectivity in Guernsey for the first time, if it is approved by the States of Guernsey.
The Committee for Economic Development has brought a Policy Letter that will result in Deputies debating the transaction in July’s States meeting.
Sure applied to the States of Guernsey to review the proposed transaction because of the significance of the strategic and public benefits to Guernsey, consumers and the island’s digital infrastructure.
Alistair Beak, Sure Group CEO, said that the deal will futureproof Guernsey: “If our acquisition of Airtel is approved by the States of Guernsey then we’re looking at a game changer for connectivity.
“Everything we do today, from education to business to connecting with each other, is built on a foundation of high-speed, reliable networks, so this will support islanders’ increasingly digital lives.
“The level of potential investment in 5G, alongside the fibre network being rolled out right now, will benefit the island’s economy for the next decade and beyond with greater reliability and gigabit speeds for all. Our ambition is to futureproof Guernsey, keeping our islands connected and at the forefront of global technology.
“Consumers will not only benefit from gigabit networks, if the acquisition is approved, but also from a series of legally binding promises that commit Sure to provide great value,improved services and security, and facilitate fair competition.”
If the transaction is approved, Sure will invest up to £37m in Guernsey to build a next-generation 5G mobile network with high-speed data services, improved coverage, and increased download speeds. This builds on the investment in the fibre network, and means that Sure will invest a total of up to £62m in Guernsey across 5G and fibre by the end of 2026.
The new mobile network which Sure has committed to build will bring substantial environmental benefits with around a third fewer mobile sites. It will also meet ahead of the deadline the stringent security standards being implemented in the UK, likely to be replicated in Guernsey, providing secure access for consumers. The outcome being full compliance with High-Risk Vendor (HRV) regulations at least one year ahead of schedule.
The promises that Sure is making will become part of its licence with the Guernsey Competition and Regulatory Authority, and will therefore be legally binding.
If the transaction is approved, the combined business will unite a wealth of skills and experience, and provide new career and growth opportunities through Sure's extensive training and development programme.
Alistair concluded: “We are hopeful that the States will see the significant benefits of this transaction and look forward to meeting as many Deputies as possible and answering their questions later in June. We also thank the Committee for Economic Development for the extensive and thorough process which has led to this policy letter being presented to the States.”
The promises to customers are:
- Improved services: A new mobile network deploying the latest technology and offering voice and high-speed data services, with improved coverage and download speeds. Subject to Sure being successful in the GCRA licensing process, the new network will also offer 5G services, complementing Sure’s cutting-edge fibre network, bringing gigabit speeds everywhere and acting as a key enabler for the digital economy.
- Great value: For all existing and new customers, Sure will continue to offer market leading Unlimited Data plans. Airtel customers will also be able to benefit from Sure’s Big Bundle in the future, saving up to £246 over a 24-month contract. Sure will continue to offer Airtel’s Basic plan - currently the lowest priced plan available in the market – for at least 36 months. Existing Airtel customers’ plans will continue to be provided for at least 36 months.
- Benefiting the environment: With around one third fewer mobile masts the new network will be better for the environment.
- Security: The new network will be highly secure, using the most trusted technology, which will achieve full compliance with High-Risk Vendor (HRV) regulations at least one year ahead of schedule.
- Fair competition: Sure will provide a ready-made Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) agreement within six months of completion. This will facilitate entry by an MVNO, enabling services to be launched within a further 24 months. Sure will also relinquish spectrum to ensure it will not hold an unfair spectrum advantage in the market.
The acquisition also needs regulatory approval in Jersey to proceed.