According to RCRwireless.com, Paraguayan telecoms regulator Consejo Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (Conatel) has called for a second public consultation regarding the distribution of frequencies in the 1700MHz and the 2100MHz spectrum band. Although the government has not yet set the date for the tender, proposals must be submitted to the watchdog in writing by 13 April. The following paired spectrum blocks will reportedly be up for grabs at the auction: ‘Block C’: 1730MHz-1740MHz and 2130MHz-2140MHz; ‘Block D’: 1740MHz-1750MHz and 2140MHz-2150MHz; ‘Block E’: 1750MHz-1760MHz and 2150MHz-2160MHz; and ‘Block F’: 1760MHz-1770MHz and 2160MHz-2170 MHz. The bidding rules stipulate that participating companies must have a market capitalisation of at least USD10 million, with a minimum price tag of USD600,000 per spectrum block; bidders are limited to 40MHz of spectrum apiece.
It is currently unclear as to whether Conatel’s auction is targeting Paraguay’s incumbent cellcos, or international telecoms firms looking to enter the sector. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in March 2011 Paraguayan president Fernando Lugo visited the offices of Vietnamese military-backed mobile operator Viettel, in Hanoi, as part of a broader visit to discuss the two countries’ bilateral cooperation. Two months earlier, in January 2011 Viettel acquired a fourth mobile licence in Peru, pitting itself against regional giants America Movil and Telefonica, and underlining the firm’s confidence in entering competitive marketplaces. Previously Viettel has displayed an eclectic approach towards international expansion; in 2010 it secured licences in Haiti and Mozambique, to go with its existing subsidiaries in Cambodia and Laos.