Uruguay prepares mobile spectrum auction

29 Nov 2011

The government of Uruguay has issued two decrees ordering the launch of an auction for wireless spectrum in the 900MHz, 1900MHz and 1700MHz-2100MHz frequency bands, TeleSemana reports, citing local newspaper El Pais. Decree 461 annuls the assignment of 900MHz spectrum to Administracion Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (Antel), following a court decision in September 2011 that ordered the state-owned national telecoms operator to give up the wireless frequencies which it currently uses for its ‘Ruralcel’ wireless in the local loop (WiLL) telephony service, after complaints from mobile operators wishing to use the frequencies for cellular services. The 900MHz spectrum (904.5MHz-909.5MHz and 949.5MHz-954.5MHz) will be auctioned alongside frequencies in the 1900MHz band (1870MHz-1875MHz, 1875MHz-1880MHz, 1890MHz-1895MHz, 1950MHz-1955MHz, 1955MHz-1960MHz and 1970MHz-1975MHz), while a second government decree calls for the sale of spectrum in the 1700MHz-2100MHz band (1725MHz-1770MHz paired with 2125MHz-2170MHz). Each block of spectrum will have a starting price of USD7.5 million, with licences valid for a period of 20 years. Telecoms regulator Unidad Reguladora de Serviocios de Comunicaciones (URSEC) has been instructed to prepare the bidding terms and conditions for the auction within 30 days for approval. Once this has been received, the tender will take place within 45 days.