Tigo Star receives mixed response on auction complaints

17 Feb 2017

Costa Rica’s comptroller general, the Contraloria General de la Republica (CGR) has responded to the complaints of Tigo Star Costa Rica regarding the upcoming auction of spectrum in the 1800MHz and 1900MHz/2100MHz bands. El Financiero writes that Tigo had provided feedback on tender documents released by sector regulator the Superintendency of Telecommunications (Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones, Sutel), complaining that: the documents did not provide information to justify the reserve prices set for the frequencies; there was too little time to process the necessary paperwork for the deadline (originally 13 February but pushed back to 30 March); the documents made no mention of the availability of microwave frequencies; an increase in the participation guarantee from 1% to 5% of the bid was ‘disproportionate and unreasonable’; there were several discrepancies between terms of the licence and existing regulations on quality of service (QoS) and the registration of pre-paid subscribers. The cable broadband provider also requested information on the software that would be used for the auction, adding that the same information should be made available to all of the eligible participants.

In its response, CGR supported several of Tigo’s positions, agreeing that Sutel should provide clarity on the availability of microwave frequencies as well as its methodology for determining pricing. Further, the CGR said that bidders should be provided equal opportunities to familiarise themselves with the software that will be used for the auction. However, the authority rejected Tigo’s other complaints, on the basis that either there was no issue, or that the matter was entirely within Sutel’s remit.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, cable provider Tigo Star is now considering entering Costa Rica’s mobile market, having opted not to take part in the 2011 spectrum auction that had liberalised the sector. Tigo’s Luxembourg-based parent Millicom International Cellular (MIC) operates mobile networks elsewhere in the region, and is able to provide the full suite of quad-play offerings – including mobile voice and data, fixed broadband, fixed telephony and pay-TV – in Paraguay, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.