SCT aiming to reclaim 2.5GHz concessions via non-renewal

10 Aug 2012

Expiring licences for spectrum in the 2.5GHz band will not be renewed, the Mexican government is reported to have announced, with existing concessions set to be reclaimed with a view to the frequencies being refarmed for the deployment of 4G technology. According to BNamericas, the country’s communications and transport minister Dionisio Perez-Jacome has said that recovered spectrum will be auctioned off, with those companies already operating in the Mexican telecoms sector allowed to take part in the sale process.

Despite the state’s plans, it is expected that the process of reclaiming the frequencies could take some time, as those companies currently holding concessions are likely to fight to retain their spectrum holdings, raising the possibility of legal challenges.

With Perez-Jacome noting that there are currently eleven operators with a total of 68 concessions in the 2.5 GHz band, the largest loser from this decision is likely to be MVS Comunicaciones, which has been embroiled in a long-running dispute with the state over its licences. As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, as far back as October 2009 regulator Cofetel had begun mulling plans to offer spectrum in the 2.5GHz band, stating that 190MHz in the 2.5GHz band held by MVS could be freed up if it did not renew the operator’s licences for that specific frequency. Amid claims by the regulator that the telco was not making full use of the spectrum, MVS countered that it would seek to oppose any such move. Having held seemingly fruitless discussions with the government over the fate of its licences, most recently March 2012 saw MVS confirm that it had launched a last-ditch bid to retain around three-quarters of its spectrum, with the company having confirmed it had offered the state USD340 million in November 2011. It was understood that in return for the sum offered, MVS sought to retain use of around 140MHz of its 190MHz spectrum in the 2.5GHz band for an initial period of ten years, but with the state having valued the frequencies far more highly it was rejected.