Antel reaches 300 5G sites in Uruguay, targets 500 by 2025 – RCR Wireless News

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Antel started to deploy 5G technology in Uruguay last year via spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band

Uruguayan state-run operator Antel has deployed a total of 300 5G sites across the country, local press reported.

The reports stated that the operator aims to reach 500 5G sites across Uruguay by February 2025.

In September last year, the carrier announced it had completed the activation of 5G technology in the country’s 19 departmental capital cities.

In June 2023, Antel started to deploy 5G technology in Uruguay via spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band.

The company had said that in the initial phase, nearly 300,000 customers had access to 5G in the cities of Montevideo, Colonia, Maldonado and Canelones.

Uruguay’s telecom regulator, Ursec, had reserved a block of 100 megahertz of spectrum for Antel in a previous spectrum auction. In the 5G auction, which took place in May 2023, rival operators Claro, owned by Mexican telecom group America Movil, and Movistar, owned by Spanish telco Telefonica, also secured 5G frequencies. The operators, who were the sole bidders in the process, each acquired a block of 100 megahertz in the 3.5 GHz band for a total of $56 million.

Ursec stipulated that the operators will have to deploy a total of 70 antennas across the country and at least two base stations in at least 10 geographic “departments”, excluding the capital Montevideo, in the first two years of the contract. In the following 36 months, Claro and Movistar will have to install at least two base stations in each of the 19 departments.

The 5G auction had raised controversy because Ursec decided to exclude local operator Dedicado, who had showed interested in the spectrum. Also, local carriers considered that the base price set by the watchdog had been high. Movistar as well as Claro and Dedicado had filed appeals regarding the price for the 5G frequencies.

In April 2019, Antel launched a pre-commercial 5G network in Montevideo using spectrum in the 28 GHz band already assigned to the company for FWA services. Claro and Movistar were subsequently awarded temporary access to spectrum in the 28 GHz band to test 5G services, including FWA.

Claro and Movistar also provide 5G service in certain urban areas across Uruguay.

5G subscribers in Uruguay are expected to reach 4 million by 2030, up compared to 900,000 in 2025, according to a previous report by telecom association GSMA.

The GSMA report showed that 5G penetration in the Uruguayan market is expected to reach 13% by 2025 while it would expand to 65% by 2030.

GSMA also noted that 5G networks will cover 99% of Uruguay’s population by 2030, up from 25% in 2025.

5G is forecast to reach 57% of the total mobile connections in Latin America in 2030, up from a current penetration of around 2%, according to GSMA. The GSMA report stated that the region will see a 5G penetration of 11% by 2025.

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