Parliament demands Tigo/Rieder spectrum deal details from Conatel

6 Jan 2012

According to ABC.com.py, Paraguay’s Standing Committee of the National Parliament has requested that the country’s telecoms regulator Consejo Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (Conatel) supplies it with full details of the pending transfer of frequencies in the 900MHz band from dormant wireless licensee Compania Privada de Comunicaciones (CPC) – which is owned by diversified local conglomerate the Rieder Group – to mobile operator Tigo Paraguay. The controversial deal, which was agreed in November 2011, caused ructions amongst Tigo’s rivals in the wireless sector, with Mario Esquivel, CEO of Vox, the market’s smallest player, admitting that his company contacted Conatel back in September 2010 with a view to cancelling Rieder’s unused licence in order to ‘distribute the frequency equitably’.

Local media reports have suggested that Tigo intends to use the spectrum to deploy a 4G network based on Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology. However, the precise frequencies up for grabs remain shrouded in mystery: a number of local press sources have indicated that the deal is for spectrum in the 900MHz band, whilst TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that the Rieder Group was awarded 1900MHz frequencies in September 2001, going on renew its national PCS concession in October 2007 for a further five years. Whilst neither band is commonly used for LTE, refarmed spectrum in the 900MHz band is suitable for 4G if the operator in question possesses sufficient capacity. Previously, the Rieder Group intended to bid in the (failed) privatisation of state-owned operator Copaco in 2002, via a consortium with Germany’s DeTeCon.

Paraguay, Tigo Paraguay