The West Indies islands are located in ITU region 2. Several of them are nevertheless European territories and, as a result, use frequency plans that are characteristic of Region 1 (Europe, Middle East, Africa). This is especially the case for the French overseas departments located in this region (Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint-Martin, Saint-Barthélemy). Now, the frequency blocks between Region 1 and Region 2 do not always have the same uses, especially for mobile phones, and the geography of the West Indies (archipelago, warm seas) favour the propagation of signals between the islands. Therefore, in these departments, French operators are faced with border interference that can occur at distances of several hundred kilometres.
In cooperation with the ARCEP and the operators, the ANFR draws up coordination agreements with neighbouring countries for the mobile service in order to prevent or solve these cases of interference. The next requests for proposals announced by the government for 4G services in Saint-Martin, Saint-Barthélemy, Martinique and Guadeloupe require the extension of the existing agreements.
The ARCEP issued the last authorisations to mobile operators to deploy 4G in Overseas Territories on 22 November . These decisions conclude the frequency assignment procedures launched in January 2016.
Parallel to this assignment procedure, the ANFR conducts negotiations at the borders and signs coordination agreements with neighbouring countries making it possible to properly use the frequencies assigned by the ARCEP.
Especially in the West Indies, the coexistence of European and American frequency plans at the borders can be difficult. The geography of the West Indies (archipelago, warm seas) favours the propagation of signals between islands. Thus, in these departments, French operators are faced with border interference that can occur at distances of several hundred kilometres.
In order to avoid prejudicial interferences between neighbouring West Indian islands that have impacted mobile operators in the past, the administrations have decided to resort to a frequency sharing solution. It consists in identifying preferred frequency blocks in bands identified as being incompatible.
The new agreement signed in 2016 between the administrations of Anguilla, Sint-Maarten and the Dutch West Indies (Saba and Saint-Estatius) for the use of the 694 to 3600 MHz frequencies in Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy is based on this principle. Changes are planned in the context of this agreement, in particular in the 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 1900 MHz bands for the islands using this band. These changes must be finalised at the end of March 2017 at the latest.
Similarly, during a multilateral meeting organised in Antigua in June 2016, the Antiguan, French (Guadeloupe and Martinique) and ECTEL (Dominica and Saint-Lucia) administrations defined the preferred frequency blocks in the 850, 900, 1800, 1900 and 2100 MHz frequency bands and a draft technical agreement is currently being finalised. Discussions have also been started with the Montserrat administration to draw up a draft agreement.
Finally, the agency is awaiting feedback from the Surinam administration on preferred frequency distributions in the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands.
In each French overseas territory the different information for players in the overseas departments is provided:
- The applicable border agreement or agreements between the French administration and the neighbouring administrations
- The frequency bands for which the neighbouring administrations have issued authorisations. These elements have been provided by the representatives of the neighbouring administrations and are subject to change.
- The measurements made by the ANFR for the purpose of quantifying the emissions from neighbouring countries.
In the case of Saint Pierre et Miquelon, Mayotte and Reunion island, as the risks of interference are considered very low considering their geographical location, there are no border agreements.
This information is the status of current knowledge and is not binding on the ANFR and the ARCEP in any way.