Conatel launches 1800MHz, 1900MHz licence tender

4 May 2012

Venezuela’s National Telecommunications Commission (Conatel) has issued an invitation to participate in an upcoming tender for three blocks of mobile spectrum within the IMT band 1710MHz-2170MHz, with the aim of improving access to mobile telephony services and broadband wireless networks. Three nationwide licences will be up for grabs, including a total frequency allocation of 70MHz, divided into blocks as follows:

Block D-D: 1930MHz-1940MHz paired with 1850MHz-1860MHz (2×10MHz);

Block E-E: 1945MHz-1955MHz paired with 1865MHz-1875MHz (2×10MHz);

Block F-F: 1810MHz-1825MHz paired with 1715MHz-1730MHz (2×15MHz).

The regulator also set the base price for 1MHz of spectrum at VEF803,000 (USD187,000) per year. Interested parties must purchase the offer documents for VEF3,000 by 25 May and must submit their applications to Conatel by 6 June 2012.

The licence auction should result in all three national mobile operators – state-run Movilnet, Telefonica’s Venezuelan unit Movistar Venezuela and locally-owned Digitel – receiving spectrum needed for expanding and upgrading their mobile broadband services nationwide. The trio have all deployed 3G HSPA-based networks in cities across the country, and Movistar has previously revealed ambitions to introduce 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology by the end of 2012, whereas Digitel recently said it was confident of receiving 1800MHz band frequencies in the near future to enable it to roll out LTE services, according to TeleGeography.