Argentina’s Secretaria de Comunicaciones (SeCom) has confirmed that a total of four companies have submitted tender documents to participate in the upcoming auction of 3G and 4G LTE mobile licences. The communications ministry revealed that three of the country’s existing wireless network operators – Claro Argentina, Telecom Personal and Telefonica Moviles (Movistar) – have applied to take part, as well as media conglomerate Arlink (Grupo Uno). Two other companies – local cellco Nextel Argentine and cable operator Cablevision – purchased the tender documents but decided against proceeding to the next stage. On offer is national 4G LTE spectrum in the 700MHz and 1700MHz/2100MHz (AWS) frequency bands, as well as the remaining regional 3G spectrum in the 850MHz (SRMC) and 1900MHz (PCS) ranges. The Prequalifying Committee will now carry out a technical analysis of the four proposals, with the government expected to award the spectrum permits on 31 October.
The allocation of new 3G and 4G LTE licences is aimed at improving the quality and coverage of mobile services in Argentina, and a portion of the spectrum is reserved for a new provider. Winning bidders of the 4G spectrum will be required to provide coverage of all localities with more than 500 inhabitants (around 98% of the population) within five years, with the licences valid for a period of 15 years. The 3G spectrum licences have been divided up into three geographic areas: North, South and Buenos Aires metropolitan area.