Former Subtel chief warns of network ‘collapse’ if 700MHz allocation delayed further

21 Nov 2014

Jorge Atton, the former head of telecoms regulator Subtel has called for the government to accelerate the process of allocating 700MHz frequencies for the provision of Long Term Evolution (LTE) services, claiming that, without the additional spectrum, networks will be unable to cope with the growing demand for data services. TeleSemana cites the former official as saying that networks would ‘collapse’ in 2H 2016 due to the growing demand, if the frequencies were not allocated soon. Atton expects a delay of a year or two for the 700MHz networks to be deployed, by which point, the existing networks would already be experiencing congestion and, as such, service quality would deteriorate. As previously noted by CommsUpdate, Subtel held the tender for the licences earlier this year, awarding the concessions to Entel Chile, Movistar and Claro. Despite this, the process of allocating the frequencies has been held up by a legal challenge from the National Corporation for Consumers and Users (Conadecus) lodged with the competition watchdog (Tribunal, de Defensa de la Libre Competencia, TDLC). Conadecus claimed that the terms of the auction were not free or open, saying that the rollout requirements were so high that they were ‘impossible to meet for an operator that is not dominant,’ and that the tender – and an earlier sale of 2600MHz frequencies – ignored spectrum caps.