Regulator commits to 2009 auctions despite dispute

9 Jan 2009

Chilean telecoms regulator Subtel has said that planned auctions for 3G and WiMAX frequencies will go ahead in 2009, irrespective of the outcome of a dispute over whether a certain amount of spectrum should be reserved for a new operator, writes BNamericas citing Subtel head Pablo Bello. In July last year Subtel and antitrust commission FNE appealed a decision by antitrust tribunal TDLC that said existing operators and potential new entrants must compete on the same terms with no exceptions being made. Of the 90MHz of frequencies available, Subtel had hoped to reserve some 60MHz for a new operator that would focus mainly on providing value added services, leaving the three existing operators – Entel PCS, Movistar and Claro – to compete for 10MHz each. The FNE has since gone one step further and argued that the existing operators should not be allowed to participate at all as they already have sufficient spectrum, with close to 60MHz each. ‘If the supreme court ratifies what the TDLC has indicated, we are obliged to hold an auction in which no spectrum can be reserved for those that do not currently have any,’ Bello said.