Sutel calls for wireless licence bids by 5 November

1 Sep 2010

Costas Rica’s telecoms regulator Sutel has called for written offers for spectrum blocks in the 850MHz, 1800MHz and 2100MHz bands by 5 November, in the much-delayed liberalisation of the country’s telecoms market, writes BNamericas citing the country’s official gazette. Bidding rules are available from Sutel’s offices for a cost of USD100. In a statement, Sutel said the cost of each of the three licences will be USD70 million, the proceeds of which will go to the universal services fund Fonatel. Participants have two weeks to request clarifications or to appeal against terms of the bidding rules. Technical offers will be considered first, after which prequalified companies will proceed to a second round. The licences will then be awarded to the highest bidders.

Rules of the tender state that participants must have experience in the wireless industry, with a minimum of 1.8 million mobile subscribers and five years experience in greenfield wireless network deployment. They must also earn USD450 million in annual income from mobile services.

Initial bidding rules were published in February but the auction suffered setbacks to allow a probe into a suspected conflict of interests regarding one of the potential bidders, as well as an investigation into potential irregularities in the way members of Sutel were conducting the bidding process. Last week, Costa Rica’s constitutional court ordered Sutel to launch the auction again by 1 September and have a winner within three months.

Costa Rica, Grupo ICE (Kolbi)