The Chilean Claro has applied to the Chile’s secretary of telecommunications (Subtel) to become an infrastructure concession operator. A Subtel spokesperson confirmed that Claro had submitted the application and said that the agency is evaluating the request.
The move goes against the current trend of telecoms operators selling off infrastructure. Last January, Telefónica’s Movistar Chile announced the transfer of 558 telecommunication towers to ATC, the Chilean subsidiary of telecom infrastructure giant American Tower.
In Chile, American Tower leads the infrastructure market as the owner of approximately 2,700 towers in the country.
If Claro’s application is approved, the carrier would become another player in the tower market. Claro could eventually open a new business niche as a provider of infrastructure, following the deployment of antenna towers for cellular, ducts and pipelines, as well as fiber optic lines to be used by other industry players.
Earlier this year, Chile passed new regulations to manage and rationalize the deployment and use of cellular antenna infrastructure in the country’s cities. The enactment of the Towers Act had been in discussion for more than a decade. Many observers interviewed by RCR Wireless agreed that the bill promotes improvements in reducing the visual impact of antennas in urban environments and encourages collocation, but they also said it might significantly increase the cost of building towers.