Govt to award 1,900 MHz spectrum in short term, minister says

Friday, September 2, 2011

Ecuador's government expects to award additional spectrum in the 1,900 MHz band to existing private mobile operators in the short term, the country's telecommunications minister, Jaime Guerrero, told BNamericas.

Mobile operators Movistar and Claro have requested additional spectrum from the government to improve their mobile services offering, Guerrero said. He was unable to specify the amount of bandwidth to be provided or the price tag.

"We expect to award this spectrum in an agile process. We hope to have it awarded in the coming weeks," the official said.

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"We haven't yet received requests for lower bands such as 700 MHz or 800 MHz. Some of these bands are occupied by other services, and we need to migrate those to free the bands up," Guerrero said. The ministry is studying the issue to be technically prepared to offer these bands in the medium term.

Mobile operators in the country are Claro, owned by Mexican giant América Móvil (NYSE: AMX); Movistar, controlled by Spanish operator Telefónica (NYSE: TEF); and state-owned operator CNT.

Ecuador reached 15.7mn mobile telephony subscribers at end-July, compared to 14.3mn a year prior, according to supervisory body Supertel. At end-July, Claro had a 69.74% market share, followed by Movistar with 28.38% and CNT with 1.88%.