After months of uncertainty, it has been confirmed that Colombia’s three main players – Claro, Tigo and Movistar – will all participate in this month’s delayed multi-band spectrum auction. Intriguingly, a fourth bidder – registered as Partners – will also take part, with local press reports identifying the company as a bidding vehicle for Novator Partners, the Icelandic-owned, London-based owner of Chilean upstart operator WOM. Novator, which acquired Nextel Chile back in January 2015, was previously linked with a takeover of Avantel Colombia in 2016, although no deal came to fruition.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, the frequency auction was scheduled to take place on 12 December, but stalled after only market leader Claro registered to participate. It was suggested that Tigo and Movistar were reluctant to enter the fray because of the lack of published reserve prices. After discussions between the Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications (Ministerio de Tecnologias de la Informacion y las Comunicaciones, MinTIC) and industry stakeholders, would-be bidders agreed to re-register their interest by 2 December.
The spectrum auction is slated to include 2×45MHz blocks of 700MHz spectrum (703MHz-748MHz/758MHz-803MHz) split into four 2×10MHz blocks and one 2×5MHz portion; plus a 2×2.5MHz 1900MHz block and eight 10MHz blocks in the 2500MHz band.