Supreme Court issues ruling on spectrum caps

14 Jul 2020

Chile’s Supreme Court has issued a ruling on spectrum holding limits, broadly in line with proposals put forward by the Antitrust Tribunal (Tribunal de Defensa de la Libre Competencia, TDLC), which had in turn been based on recommendations from sector watchdog the Department of Telecommunications (Subsecretaria de Telecomunicaciones, Subtel). Diario Financiero writes that the apex court’s ruling allows a provider to hold a percentage of the available spectrum within ‘macro bands’ comprising groupings of spectrum bands. For the ‘Low’ macro band (sub-1GHz frequencies), the court ruled that a provider could hold up to 32% of the available airwaves (the TDLC’s recommendation had been for 35%), whilst for the ‘Low Middle’ (1GHz-3GHz) and ‘Middle’ (3GHz-6GHz) macro bands the limit was set at 30%, and holdings in the ‘High’ (mmWave, over 24GHz) macro band were capped at 25%. Alongside these limits, the court’s decision featured several additional measures.

These include the establishment of a temporary national roaming obligation, under which incumbent cellcos Entel, Claro and Movistar would provide national roaming for new entrants whilst they deploy their own networks. This requirement would be a general stipulation, independent of specific spectrum auctions or a particular set of frequencies. Similarly, the court mandated that the incumbents must also ensure that their networks are available to MVNOs, with the requirement that they make and keep updated a reference offer that is approved by Subtel and the National Economic Prosecutor (Fiscalia Nacional Economica, FNE). Further, Subtel and the FNE must monitor the incumbents and are empowered to adjust the conditions of offers and contracts for national roaming and for MVNOs.