Colombia’s LTE auction has been postponed again. The government announced that it will take place in February next year, and América Móvil’s Claro will be allowed to bid in the 2.5 GHz. The main reason for so many delays was the polemic debate over the participation of the dominant mobile operator, Claro, in the tender. In August, the government postponed the spectrum license auction set to support LTE service for the second time.
As Marceli Passoni, Informa Telecoms & Media research analyst, pointed out in her recent Analyst Angle column, the spectrum auction was postponed because of concerns that Claro could extend its monopoly to mobile broadband services if it is allowed to participate in the upcoming auction. “Claro currently holds more than 60% of the mobile market, and some senators and other operators claim that Claro should be forbidden from participating in the tender,” she said.
Following many discussions, Colombia’s Ministry of Information Technology and Communications (Mintic), along with the Spectrum Agency (ANE) and Colombian telecommunications regulator (CRC), has published the latest draft of conditions for the LTE auction process, which according to Mintic, takes into account industry, congressional and National Committee perspectives.
“This latest draft showed the government’s interest in having 4G fulfill two functions: providing high-speed wireless Internet for current users and wireless Internet for strata one and two,” said Diego Molano, ICT Minister, in a statement. Strata refers to the officially recognized economic classes in Colombia, and strata one and two are the poorest.
According to the presented draft, the auction aims to promote a more equitable competition scenario for all players and the entry of a new operator in the AWS band. Regarding Claro, the document says it will only be allowed to bid for 2.5 GHz band.
After the auction is held in February 2013, the operators will begin to deploy the necessary networks to provide LTE services. According to the process provisions, carriers should ensure coverage of LTE Internet to 100% of major, capital cities by June 2014. Molano Vega highlighted that Colombia has aimed to achieve a high goal of providing Internet service to people from all economic levels in the country, with special attention to the poor.
Already established telecom operators can only aspire to 30 MHz of spectrum, since there is a set limit of 85 MHz for each.
Among the auction terms, operators that attain AWS bands and 2.5 GHz must share infrastructure with other companies that want to provide telecommunication services, provide national roaming and meet the goals of Internet penetration and business plans in offering LTE mobile services, including for tablets and laptops for students and teachers at strata one and two in different regions, and ensuring that the targeted new users, who could exceed 1.25 million, benefit.
Be sure not to miss:
- Colombia moves toward LTE in 700 MHz; Huawei, ZTE and Ericsson to conduct tests
- Analyst Angle: Excluding Claro from Colombia’s LTE auction is counterproductive
- Colombia to have more LTE providers by end of year, says ICT minister
Want to know more about the Colombian wireless market? Be sure to download the RCR Wireless feature report about the telecom market in Colombia.