Chile may schedule 4G auction for first quarter 2012

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Chile’s secretary of telecommunications (Subtel) is set to schedule an auction of 4G spectrum, which will enable LTE deployment in the country. Subtel has yet to spell out its requirements for the bidding, which is expected to happen in next year’s first quarter, but local media reported that some changes might be included.

The new model would be based on convergence, and government might separate the auction into two “layers”: one focused on infrastructure, such as antennas, fiber optical networks and facilities, wireless or wired; and another grouping all the telecommunications services that could be offered through those networks, such as telephone, Internet or television.

The bidding had been expected to take place before the end of this year, as Subtel had been working since mid-2010 on scheduling an auction date. Telecom insiders say the government will auction spectrum in the 2.6 GHz band for 4G services, given that spectrum in the 700 MHz band — which is being used in the United States and Canada — still needs to be cleared.

Like many other countries, Chile is facing a spectrum shortage. In the meantime, some operators have begun LTE trials, while other operators — such as Claro, Entel and Movistar — are deploying HSPA+ technologies to increase the speed of their networks.

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