Claro, Movistar weigh in for spectrum auction

12 May 2017

Claro Costa Rica and Movistar Costa Rica were the only two companies to submit offers to participate in the upcoming auction for spectrum in the 1800MHz and 1900MHz/2100MHz bands. Sector regulator the Superintendency of Telecommunications (Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones, Sutel) now has 50 working days to review the technical offers and confirm whether the duo comply with the necessary conditions to take part in the tender. Up for grabs are 2×20MHz in the 1800MHz range – at 1730MHz-1750MHz/1825MHz-1845MHz – plus a 2×15MHz in the 1900MHz/2100MHz band, at 1940MHz-1955MHz/2130MHz-2145MHz.

Millicom International Cellular (MIC)-backed cableco Tigo Star had also expressed an interest in bidding for the spectrum, and its complaints regarding the limited time initially available to prepare an offer may have played a part in the regulator’s decisions to delay the auction several times. Its absence from the tender suggests that the operator has either abandoned its ambition to enter the wireless market altogether, or that it will choose an alternative route such as offering services via an MVNO agreement with an existing mobile network operator (MNO). As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, a spokesperson for Tigo Star explained earlier this year why the operator had opted not to take part in the 2011 tender which had liberalised the cellular market: ‘We were coming from a monopoly of more than 60 years [and] there were a number of infrastructure issues to be resolved, [such as] access to submarine cables, the establishment of base stations, etc.’