Venezuela’s National Telecommunications Commission (Conatel) has announced that the country’s three mobile network operators, state-run Movilnet, Telefonica subsidiary Movistar and domestically-owned Digitel, have responded to last month’s invitation to participate in a tender for three blocks of mobile spectrum in the 1700MHz, 1800MHz and 1900MHz bands. Following receipt of the applications by a deadline of 6 June, a formal process of qualification will now be applied to the three cellcos’ bids on technical, economic and legal grounds under public offering regulations. As reported by CommsUpdate, in early May Conatel launched the spectrum tender within the IMT band 1710MHz-2170MHz in response to demand, with the aim of improving access to mobile telephony and broadband wireless services. The frequency allocation of 70MHz is 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 set the base price for 1MHz of spectrum at VEF803,000 (USD187,000) per year. The licence auction should result in all three national operators 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.