Costa Rican telecoms watchdog the Superintendency of Telecommunications (Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones, Sutel) has completed its auction of spectrum in the 1800MHz and 1900MHz/2100MHz bands, awarding a total of 70MHz to Movistar Costa Rica and Claro Costa Rica. The tender raised USD43 million for the regulator, which stated that the proceeds would be used to finance network expansion programmes – targeting in particular coastal, rural and border areas as well as vulnerable populations – via the National Telecommunications Fund (Fondo Nacional de Telecomunicaciones, Fonatel). Of the seven 2×5MHz blocks available, Movistar secured four, paying a total of USD24 million for two blocks each in the 1800MHz and 1900MHz/2100MHz bands. Claro, meanwhile, also won two 1800MHz blocks but just a single 1900MHz/2100MHz block with a bid of USD19 million. The two cellcos, owned by regional heavyweights Telefonica and America Movil (AM) were the only providers cleared to participate in the tender. Tigo Star had considered bidding for spectrum with a view to entering the mobile market, but ultimately chose not to take part in the sale.
Commenting on the results, Sutel’s president Gilbert Camacho noted: ‘This auction will enable mobile telecommunications operators to strengthen and expand the capacity of existing mobile networks, so that the user can count on greater access to next generation networks that provide higher speeds and better coverage.’