Mexican government to reclaim 68% of disputed 2.5GHz spectrum

15 Oct 2013

Mexico’s government is said to have agreed to a deal with those companies holding spectrum in the 2.5GHz band under which it will recover a significant portion of such frequencies. According to Reuters, the state has struck an agreement with concession holders, including MVS Comunicaciones, which holds a significant portion of the disputed spectrum, to reclaim 68% of the available space in the 2.5GHz band.

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in August 2012 it was revealed that expiring licences for spectrum in the 2.5GHz band would not be renewed, with the Mexican government at that date saying that it would seek to reclaim existing concessions in order to allow the frequencies to be refarmed for the deployment of 4G technology. With eleven operators holding a total of 68 concessions in the 2.5 GHz band, the largest loser from the decision looked to be MVS Comunicaciones, which had been embroiled in a long-running dispute with the state over its licences. 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.

It is understood that nine of the eleven license holders, including MVS, have voluntarily given up at least a portion of their spectrum holdings, while the Secretario de Comunicaciones y Transportes (SCT) is said to have confirmed that the concessions for the remaining 60MHz of spectrum that was not being returned had been extended for 15 years. Meanwhile, in the wake of the development the ministry has said that the Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones (Ifetel), the new telecoms regulator created by the country’s recent major telecoms reforms, will be able to auction off the recovered spectrum immediately, should it want to. Commenting on the matter, the SCT was cited as saying: ‘Recovering this spectrum for the nation strengthens the state’s ability to achieve greater broadband service coverage.’