Movistar, Entel, WOM win 3500MHz 5G auction

17 Feb 2021

Chilean telecoms watchdog the Department of Telecommunications (Subsecretaria de Telecomunicaciones, Subtel) has published the results of the final tiebreaker auction of its 5G spectrum tender process, naming Movistar, Entel and WOM as the winners. Each of the trio was awarded a 50MHz tranche of 3500MHz spectrum. Of the other two bidders, Claro’s bid fell short whilst would-be newcomer Borealnet bowed out after losing the tiebreaker auctions for frequencies in the 700MHz and AWS bands to WOM. According to Subtel, the economic offers submitted by the companies amounted to around CLP117 billion (USD162.7 million) for Movistar, CLP100 billion from Entel and CLP32 billion from WOM. As part of their licence obligations, the operators will be required to provide high speed mobile data services to 366 unserved or underserved locations, and connect 199 hospitals to the new networks. Diario Financiero quotes a statement from Claro commenting on the auction results as saying that the company would forge ahead with its 5G development programme: ‘The results of this first phase of the 3500MHz spectrum tender do not stop Claro Chile’s 5G deployment plans. We will continue advancing in the development of 5G with our currently available spectrum, including the 26GHz millimetre band.’ The operator also encouraged the regulator to accelerate the process of auctioning additional 5G spectrum, referring to the ‘next stage of the public tender’. The local press outlet also noted that there is a potential route for Claro to purchase additional 3500MHz airwaves in the immediate future, as Entel’s award will push the company’s spectrum holdings in the band above the 30% cap.

With the conclusion of this round of 5G tenders, the winners of the spectrum are as follows:

· WOM – 2×10MHz in the 700MHz band, 2×15MHz in the AWS band, 50MHz in the 3500MHz band and 400MHz in the 26GHz band

· Entel – 50MHz in the 3500MHz band and 400MHz in the 26GHz band

· Movistar – 50MHz in the 3500MHz band

· Claro – 400MHz in the 26GHz band.