Chilean watchdog the Department of Telecommunications (Subsecretaria de Telecomunicaciones, Subtel) has submitted its update National Spectrum Plan to the Antitrust Tribunal (Tribunal de Defensa de la Libre Competencia, TDLC), proposing new spectrum caps across spectrum band groupings. The development follows a Supreme Court ruling in June this year that determined that the allocation of 700MHz frequencies in 2014 to Movistar, Claro and Entel was anti-competitive, as it ignored a spectrum limit of 60MHz imposed by a 2009 decision of the apex court. The most recent ruling noted that if the relevant authorities had considered the cap too low for the needs of the market, the agencies should have adjusted or removed the cap before beginning the spectrum auction. Further, the Supreme Court ordered that should Subtel choose to alter the upper limit on airwaves, it must do so in consultation with the anti-monopoly watchdog.
Subtel’s proposals suggest grouping frequencies into four ‘macro bands’: Low, <1GHz; Middle-low, 1GHz-3GHz; Middle-high, 3.4GHz-3.8GHz; and High, 27.5GHz-28GHz. For each of the macro bands, operators would be granted the following allowances: Low, 50MHz; Middle-low, 60MHz; Middle-high, 80MHz; and High 200MHz. The limits would, however, require most operators to return some spectrum in the Middle-low band. At present, Subtel notes that Entel would be required to return 40MHz, as it holds 60MHz in the 1900MHz range and 40MHz in the 2600MHz band. Movistar and Claro would need to return 22MHz and 10MHz, respectively, with each holding 30MHz in the 1900MHz range and 40MHz at 2600MHz, whilst Movistar retains a further 12MHz tranche of regional 2600MHz frequencies. Similarly, VTR would need to return 6MHz as its regional spectrum holdings include a 36MHz tranche, in addition to a nationwide 30MHz block of 1700MHz airwaves.