Nextel hoping to swap spectrum with regulator

14 Apr 2015

Chilean cellco Nextel is forging ahead with plans to launch 4G services in the AWS spectrum band (1700MHz/2100MHz), but is willing to trade frequencies in that block for 700MHz airwaves, which would improve the network’s performance, the new CEO of Nextel, Chris Bannister – who was appointed following the company’s acquisition by UK-based investment fund Novator in January 2015 – told Diario Financiero. The cellco is set to launch Long Term Evolution (LTE) services this year, but is looking to gain access to other spectrum bands to augment its offering. Mr Bannister noted that although the highly sought-after 700MHz frequencies were ‘awarded to Movistar, Entel and Claro in a public competition to which only they were invited, there is a 20MHz lot that Subtel is allowed to use for an emergency network,’ adding that it is the spectrum in the reserved band that Nextel is currently lobbying for. The official went on: ‘The 700MHz helps improve network performance and, like other carriers, which have two bands, we believe it would be beneficial to the consumer for companies to compete on equal terms, without distortions generated by regulatory or licensing issues.’ Showing its willingness to negotiate on the matter, Nextel said it would be happy to return some of its other spectrum holdings to be used for the emergency network.