Co-ops line up for free mobile licences

2 Aug 2006

Argentina’s Secretaría de Comunicaciones (SeCom) is finalising the award of mobile telephony licences free of charge to the country’s telecom co-operatives, according to BNamericas citing newspaper La Nación. SeCom will redistribute up to 42.5MHz of spectrum being handed back to the state by leading cellco Telefónica Comunicaciones Personales (TCP), following its takeover of rival Movicom BellSouth in early 2005. TCP has already returned ‘some’ of the spectrum, and must return the full allocation by 2008. SeCom is close to completing its study of the legal implications of redistributing the spectrum to the co-ops for free. It is eager to protect the government from potential legal challenges from existing operators who paid a combined USD1 billion for their frequencies. Once the study is complete, the regulator plans to hand non-transferable mobile concessions to Fecotel and Fecosur, which represent more than 350 telecoms co-ops between them.