Quintet to bid for Movistar’s returned spectrum

21 Aug 2012

A total of five operators have applied to take part in Argentina’s upcoming auction of wireless spectrum in the 850MHz and 1900MHz bands, reports BNamericas, citing local newspaper La Nacion. The participants have been named as America Movil-owned Claro Argentina, Telecom Personal (the mobile arm of fixed line incumbent Telecom Argentina), Nextel Argentina, Multitrunk and Superfone, the ISP arm of local cable TV company Supercanal, which is owned by media conglomerate Grupo Uno. According to the report, however, Superfone may not fulfill the bidding conditions of the tender, which state that all participating companies should be in line with the country’s broadcasting law of 2009. The law stipulates that a media group cannot own public TV channels if it also has a cable TV operator. Grupo Uno has three public TV channels in Mendoza and Buenos Aires provinces as well as national channel America TV, in association with businessman Francisco de Narvaez. Grupo Uno also reportedly exceeds the limit of ten licences for the provision of broadcasting services.

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.