Conatel to probe Personal’s ‘unlicensed’ 4G launch

5 Jan 2016

Paraguayan mobile operator Telecom Personal has attracted criticism from industry watchdog National Telecommunications Council (Consejo Nacional de Telecomunicaciones, Conatel) over its ‘unlicensed’ 4G launch in the capital city Asuncion late last month. As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, Personal opted not to participate in the regulator’s 1700MHz/2100MHz 4G auction earlier in December, with rival operators Tigo and Claro paying a combined USD90 million for the concessions on offer.

Instead, Personal has opted to use a refarmed 10MHz block of 1900MHz 3G spectrum to implement its 4G launch, arguing that ‘operators are free to choose the band they see fit, provided they have a licence for the commercial exploitation of [that spectrum]’. Going forward, Personal expects to extend the 1900MHz 4G network to all main cities by the end of 1Q16.

For its part, Conatel has pledged to investigate the launch, on the grounds that Personal failed to seek its consent for the activation of such a service. The watchdog has also asserted that it will look into the cellco’s plans to ‘re-engineer’ its existing 850MHz and 1900MHz spectrum holdings for future 4G use.