Venezuela’s government has published in the country’s official gazette the mobile spectrum bands available for an upcoming licence auction, telecoms regulator Conatel said in a statement, reported by BNamericas. Frequency allocations will be made available in the 1710MHz-1770MHz, 1805MHz-1910MHz, 1930MHz-1990MHz and 2110MHz-2170MHz bands. According to local press reports, Conatel will issue the bidding rules today. Conatel also said that licence winners are expected to start using their new spectrum by November this year. Concessions awarded will be for 15 years and the initial bidding price is USD120 million. The government said it will take into consideration quality of service, coverage and the value of the bid.
CDMA operators Movistar, owned by Spain’s Telefónica, and Movilnet, the mobile unit of fixed line incumbent CANTV, both say they need more spectrum to expand their services. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database notes that Movistar is currently deploying a GSM 850MHz network, under a contract awarded to Nokia in August 2006, to align its operations with its sister companies across Latin America. Originally planned to launch in October, in December 2006 Movistar’s GSM services were soft launched in selected areas, with a full-scale launch scheduled by mid-2007. Meanwhile, Movilnet announced in February 2007 that it plans to invest USD250 million to roll out a GSM network. Venezuela’s third cellco, domestically owned Digitel, already offers national GSM-900 services, since amalgamating the GSM networks of two regional operators, Digicel and Infonet, in May 2006.