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New Panama licensing process underway; newcomer must serve 500,000 subs elsewhere

17 Jan 2023

Pre-qualification for the award of Panama’s new mobile licence is now underway, as the National Public Services Authority (Autoridad Nacional de los Servicios Publicos, ASEP) seeks to fill the void created by the exit of Digicel Panama. The first stage of the licensing process started on 12 January and will remain open until 16 March 2023. Public tender No. 01-2023-Telco will include 2×15MHz in the 1900MHz band (1850MHz-1865MHz/1930MHz-1945MHz) and 2×10MHz in the 700MHz band (738MHz-748MHz/793MHz-803MHz). The licences will be valid for 20 years.

The regulator has emphasised that it is seeking a licensee with strong credentials, rather than an untried player and has stipulated that the successful applicant must have at least five years’ experience as a mobile licensee in another market and serve no fewer than 500,000 mobile subscriptions.

With LatAm-focused groups Millicom International Cellular (MIC) and Liberty Latin America (LLA) already present in Panama, and Telefonica, America Movil (AM) and Digicel Group all exiting the sector in recent years there is no obvious candidate for the new concession.

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