Chile to award 3.5 GHz spectrum for 5G next month – RCR Wireless News

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This auction will award new spectrum to increase 5G coverage in more than 120 new locations across Chile

Chilean telecom regulator Subtel confirmed that the allocation of additional 5G spectrum will be carried out via an auction on June 17 after the announcement of a technical tie between the proposals submitted by local carriers Entel and Claro.

In a release, the watchdog said that five blocks of 10 megahertz in the 3.5 GHz band will be allocated through an auction process at the Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications.

The Minister of Transport and Telecommunications, Juan Carlos Muñoz, said: “Our country enjoys important leadership in telecommunications and as a Government we seek to consolidate this position. This competition makes it possible to increase 5G coverage in more than 120 new locations and connect 1,500 kilometers of highways with 5G.”

According to the local legislation, operators seeking to secure additional frequencies must present technical projects, which must meet the stipulated requirements. In the event that the applicant companies do not obtain the total score necessary to be awarded the offered blocks, an auction must be held. In this instance, companies make an economic offer for each available block of spectrum, who is awarded to the operator making the best offer, Subtel explained.

The regulator had previously said it plans to rearrange the 3.4 GHz-3.6 GHz band upon the completion of the tender, so that the blocks awarded in the auction are “continuous, and that the rest of the blocks granted in [this] band are left with the least dispersion and greatest possible continuity”.

Entel currently has 50 megahertz of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band for 5G networks. The operator has another 50 megahertz for fixed wireless services.

Claro also has 50 megahertz in the 3.5 GHz band to operate fixed wireless services. Under local regulations, the bands for fixed services cannot be used for the provision of 5G technology.

Meanwhile, local carriers Movistar and WOM did not submit offers to secure additional 5G spectrum in this process. These two telcos are currently offering 5G services in Chile as they had obtained spectrum in a previous 5G auction, completed in 2021.

In January, Movistar presented a preliminary ruling before the Court for the Defense of Free Competition (TDLC) with the aim of suspending the process. According to the Spanish operator, this 5G spectrum auction has bases that are anti-competitive and that would favor Claro to obtain spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band to offer 5G services in the country.

The TDLC had rejected Movistar’s request to suspend the process.

Movistar explained that it did not take part in the auction due to dissatisfaction with the rules of the process, which, according to the operator, do not ensure free competition between the operators.

“A new 5G contest should have allowed all those operators with a desire to invest to do so, under effective competition, on equal terms, with the greatest possible technical and legal certainty, and without advantages,” Movistar said in a statement.

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