Entel risks regulator’s wrath over 4G doubts

25 Mar 2013

Chilean cellco Entel has announced that it may not offer a commercial 4G service, over doubts regarding the suitability of the 2600MHz spectrum. Local news portal La Tercera quotes Entel general manager Antonio Buchi as saying that ‘The 2600MHz band is very useful to relieve the network in general but does not allow a service dedicated 4G network’ as customers would drop to 3G speeds whilst indoors. With quality of service (QoS) likely to fall short of Entel’s standard, Buchi claimed that the company was reluctant to sell a product that would not meet customer’s expectations. The situation is likely to change once the government makes the 700MHz spectrum available, however.

The comments have drawn criticism from the regulator, which says that the company will face punitive measures if Entel does not stick to its commitment to offer 4G services. Entel faces an initial USD1.4 million fine if it fails to offer 4G by 3 April 2014. Subsequent fines of USD52 million and USD23 million and the loss of its concession would follow. Undersecretary of Telecommunications Jorge Atton added that if Entel is serious about its doubts regarding the 2600MHz spectrum, ‘it is clear that the regulator and Tribunal de Defensa de la Libre Competencia (TDLC) will have to look at this issue because we are dealing with someone who is hoarding spectrum.’