700MHz auction falls flat

14 Oct 2013

Jamaica’s auction of spectrum in the 700MHz band has ended in failure, with no bids submitted by the deadline despite widespread international interest in the concession, the Jamaica Observer reports. Leading up the tender, 24 individuals and companies from ten countries – including India, China, Canada, the US and Russia – had expressed an interest in acquiring the licence. Phillip Paulwell, Minister of science, technology, energy and mining commented that: ‘We view this as a minor setback. The government’s resolve is undaunted as it relates to the preservation of competition in the telecommunications market, and for creating a knowledge-based society.’ Jamaica’s Spectrum Management Authority (SMA) offered up two 2×12MHz licences, Band 13 (746MHz-758MHz, 776MHz-788MHz) and Band 17 (704MHz-716MHz, 734MHz-746MHz), with reserve prices of USD40 million and USD45 million respectively. SMA sweetened the deal for new entrants by throwing in a 15-year licence for 2×5MHz in the 1800MHz or 1900MHz range that is exempt from spectrum fees.