Argentina to auction mobile spectrum in 2H 2011

12 May 2011

The Argentine communications ministry, Secretaria de Comunicaciones (SeCom), has announced it will auction wireless spectrum in the 800MHz and 1900MHz bands in the second half of 2011, Dow Jones Newswires reports. Under Resolution 57-2011 published in the Official Bulletin, bidding rules will be available for purchase starting next week. Applicants will have the chance to bid for 5MHz and 10MHz blocks of radio spectrum in the 1890MHz-1985MHz band as well as a 7.5MHz block in the 830MHz-879MHz band; the minimum bidding price has been set at between USD600,000 and USD6 million per MHz depending on the service area and spectrum band. Bidders must post a guarantee of USD1.2 million and have a minimum capitalisation of USD100 million. Under the resolution, winning bidders have an obligation to provide complete coverage in their concession areas five years after receiving the licences, while at least 30% of the services and equipment used to build the networks have to be sourced locally.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database states that the mobile spectrum up for sale had been returned to SeCom following the merger of cellcos Telefonica Comunicaciones Personales Argentina (TCP, formerly Unifon) and Movicom BellSouth in early 2005. As a condition of the merger, the consolidated company was required to relinquish 42.5MHz of its wireless spectrum under the law stating that no operator is allowed to hold more than 50MHz (the enlarged entity would have held a combined 92.5MHz following the deal). Nextel Argentina is expected to take part in the upcoming tender, as well as cableco Telecentro, which received a mobile network operator licence in January 2011 but did not receive any wireless frequencies.