Argentine cable TV company Supercanal, which is owned by media conglomerate Grupo Uno, has applied to take part in the country’s upcoming auction of wireless spectrum in the 850MHz and 1900MHz bands, NexTV Latam reports, citing Sebastian D’Alessandro, marketing manager of Uno Media. If successful in the tender, the company plans to use the spectrum to offer mobile telephony services, which would enable it to become Argentina’s first provider of quad-play packages. D’Alessandro said that Supercanal, which operates in several regions of the country, including Mendoza, Catamarca, Cordoba, La Rioja, Santa Fe, San Juan and Tucuman, would expect to launch its mobile service 24 months after receiving the required frequencies.
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database states that the mobile spectrum up for sale had been returned to communications ministry Secretaria de Comunicaciones (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 (now known as Movistar) 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). Applicants will have the chance to bid for 5MHz and 10MHz blocks in the 1890MHz-1985MHz band and a 7.5MHz block in the 830MHz-879MHz band; the minimum bidding price was set at between USD600,000 and USD6 million per MHz depending on the service area and spectrum band. As well as Supercanal, Argentine mobile operators Claro Argentina, Telecom Personal and Nextel Argentina have reportedly applied to take part in the auction, alongside Vietnamese military-owned cellco Viettel, which secured a mobile licence in Peru in January 2011.