Nicaragua , Mexico , Uruguay , Costa Rica , Argentina , Guatemala , Colombia and Dominican Republic

Spotlight: The spectrum tenders LatAm is lining up for 2023

Bnamericas Published: Friday, December 23, 2022
Spotlight: The spectrum tenders LatAm is lining up for 2023

Next year several countries in the region plan to auction off spectrum for 5G services, in addition to the remaining portions of spectrum from previous 4G auctions.

In Latin America, only Chile, Brazil and the Dominican Republic have carried out spectrum tenders for 5G services so far.

In other markets, operators have launched new mobile technology in the spectrum previously allocated to other technologies, as in the case of Peru, Mexico and Guatemala, among others.

Various tenders are expected to go ahead in 2023, aimed at the deployment of 5G services, expanding available 4G capacity and offering operators a mix of frequencies in low, medium and high bands.

BNamericas take a look at what we can expect to see happening in the region next year.


On December 21, Colombia’s ICT ministry (Mintic) published a request for expressions of interest to obtain permits for the use of radio spectrum.

The ministry plans to offer up to 10MHz of spectrum in the 700MHz band, 10MHz in 1900MHz, 30MHz in 2.5GHz, and 400MHz in the 3.5GHz band. It will also make available up to 2.8GHz of spectrum in the 26GHz band.

Operators have until December 29 to submit their expressions of interest.

The ministry has said that the draft resolution for the spectrum allocation process would be published for comment in the second quarter of next year, while the selection process would be carried out in the third quarter.


This month, sector regulator IFT changed the national frequency plan for 2023 with the aim of making available up to 7,750MHz of radio spectrum in millimeter bands.

Mexico has frequencies available in the 26GHz (24.25-27.5GHz), 38GHz (37-40GHz) and 42GHz (42-43.5GHz) bands.

The watchdog also identified available spectrum to be assigned in the AWS band and ePCS frequencies (1,850-1,915MHz/1,930-1,995MHz) available in the nine regions in which the country is divided.

The IFT identified between 50MHz and 80MHz of discontinuous spectrum in the PCS band, as a result of Telefónica Movistar migrating its 3G and 4G traffic to AT&T networks, shutting down its own networks and handing back spectrum to authorities.

"In order to encourage the allocation of the largest amount of radio spectrum in the public bidding processes carried out by the IFT in the case of mobile services, the modification to the 2023 program considers the possibility of assigning national or regional spectrum blocks or by basic service area (ABS),” the regulator said in a release.

IFT plans to hold a tender (IFT-12) in the low 600MHz band and medium bands (PCS, AWS, 2.5GHz and 3.5GHz), while the millimeter bands would be offered in a second tender, according to information from local daily El Economista.


Costa Rica's telecommunications development plan also outlines the allocation of radio spectrum in 2023-24.

Authorities have identified 90MHz of spectrum in the 700MHz band, 100MHz in the 2,300MHz band, 190MHz in the 2,600MHz band, 100MHz in the 3,300-3,400MHz band, 200MHz in the 3,500MHz band, 1,200MHz in the 26GHz band and 2,000MHz in the 28MHz band that can be offered to the market for mobile services.

The 2,600MHz and 3,500MHz bands are subject to the process of Grupo ICE returning radio spectrum, so for now the ministry of science, technology and telecommunications (Micitt) cannot yet guarantee that all of the available spectrum can be offered to operators.


Argentine regulator Enacom has already started preliminary meetings to move forward with a 5G spectrum tender that is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2023.

The regulator plans to offer 300MHz in the 3.5GHz band. While the local press has suggested that the government could collect up to US$1.4bn from the auction of spectrum, industry players think the costs will be lower.

According to GSMA, in Argentina there is some 210MHz available to be offered, involving surplus spectrum in the 700MHz, 900MHz, AWS (1,700-2,100MHz), 1,900MHz and 2.5GHz bands.

A year ago, Enacom identified spectrum for 5G services in the 1.5GHz, AWS-3 (1,770-1,780MHz/2,170-2,200MHz), 2.3GHz, and 3.5GHz bands, as well as the 26GHz and 38GHz millimeter bands.


Uruguay is planning a spectrum tender for 5G services next year in which it could auction off remnants of the low 900MHz band and spectrum in the 1,700-2,100MHz band, in addition to 100MHz in 3.5GHz and spectrum in the 26GHz.

Uruguayan operator Dedicado has already confirmed its interest in participating in this tender. Meanwhile, private mobile operators Claro and Movistar told local press that they will wait to see the conditions of the auction before deciding whether or not to take part.


Regulator Subtel plans to make 50MHz of spectrum available in the 3.5GHz band so that a new entrant can access frequencies for 5G services. This process could go ahead in March 2023, according to paper Diario Financiero.

In the last spectrum tender, Claro did not bid for the 3.5GHz band but, because of its joint venture agreement with VTR, the new company could be interested in acquiring spectrum to provide 5G services to customers.

Boreal Net or GTD could also be interested in the frequencies.

Recently, national competition court TLDC rejected a change to the concession for the 3.5GHz band that would have allowed companies like ClaroVTR to offer 5G services in their current spectrum holdings.


Nicaraguan telecommunications regulator Telcor has begun the planning process for a national strategy and roadmap for 5G, and has reserved the 3,300-3,400MHz and 3,600-3,700MHz frequencies for deployment of the 5G networks and services.

Guatemala plans to award around 120MHz of spectrum in the 2.5GHz to 2.6GHz range for 4G or higher services. Telecommunications regulator SIT has received 48 requests for frequency assignment, according to Prensa Libre.

The Dominican Republic wants to auction the remaining 700MHz spectrum, along with 30MHz in AWS and another 20MHz that was left over from the 3.5GHz auction. However, a court ruling is still being awaited to allow the authorities to sell the AWS frequencies, so no date has yet been penciled in for the auction.

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