The upcoming auction of 4G-suitable spectrum is expected to raise around USD250 million for state coffers, TeleSemana writes, citing ICT minister Diego Molano Vega as saying. Bidding is slated to begin on 26 June 2013, with 225MHz of airwaves in the 1900MHz, 2100MHz and 2500MHz bands up for grabs. Broadband and TV operators ETB, DirecTV and Avantel have all reportedly expressed an interest in taking part in the auction, along with Une-EPM, which launched the nation’s first 4G network in June 2012. Incumbent cellcos Tigo, Claro and Movistar are restricted in their bidding, with Claro allowed to bid only for spectrum in the 2500MHz range whilst Tigo and Telefonica are limited to the 1900MHz and 2100MHz bands. Potential new entrants to the sector Entel Chile and South Korea’s KT Corp are also understood to be interested in the auction.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, winning operators will be obliged to provide coverage in small municipalities as well as profitable markets; 50% of municipalities must be covered by July 2014, increasing to all areas by 2018. Further, providers must offer mobile broadband plans including tablets or computers for students and teachers. In terms of airwaves, there is a single 5MHz block of 1900MHz spectrum on offer, three licences for 2×15MHz of paired spectrum in the 2100MHz range and four 2500MHz permissions, consisting of three 2×15MHz blocks of Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) spectrum and a single 40MHz Time Division Duplex (TDD) concession. One each of the 2100MHz and 2500MHz licences has been reserved for new players. New entrants to the market will be subject to less stringent rollout obligations.