Costa Rica to use digital dividend spectrum for mobile broadband

16 Jan 2017

The Costa Rican government is planning to allocate 100MHz of 700MHz-band spectrum freed up from the introduction of digital TV – the so-called ‘digital dividend’ – for mobile broadband services, but will not be able to tender the airwaves until mid-2018 at the earliest. In an interview with El Financiero, Deputy Minister of Telecommunications Edwin Estrada explained that the migration from analogue to digital TV is expected to be completed by the end of 2017, with the current deadline set at 15 December 2017, although an assessment of the progress in the middle of the year could lead to the deadline being postponed. The official added that, while the frequencies may be freed up by the end of the year, the process of allocating them to operators would be delayed by the general election in early 2018. Further, once the new government instructs the regulator to distribute the spectrum, the Superintendency of Telecommunications (Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones, Sutel) must conduct a market analysis before drafting the tender documents for the sale of the spectrum, potentially pushing back an auction to late 2018 or early 2019.