Argentina expects 'successful' 5G auction in 1Q23

Bnamericas Published: Friday, October 14, 2022
Argentina expects 'successful' 5G auction in 1Q23

The Argentine government is confident that the 5G spectrum auction planned for the first quarter of 2023 will be a success, according to Claudio Ambrosini, the head of sector regulator Enacom.

Despite the optimism of Ambrosini, the terms and conditions of the tender remain unknown.

Ambrosini mentioned the auction as he took part in a 5G and smart cities event in Buenos Aires with representatives of the country’s leading mobile operators: Personal (Telecom Argentina), Movistar (Telefónica Argentina) and Claro Argentina.

"I think that the discussion that is coming and the format that Argentina is going to adopt to carry out the auction will be a consensual model, that will pave the way for 5G in the country," Ambrosini said in an Enacom release.

There are very few details of the tender in terms of the blocks available and the format, but the 3.5GHz mid-band, the prime spectrum being used worldwide for 5G, has now been cleaned up and is ready to be licensed.

The government also estimates that the tender could raise some US$1.4bn.

Overall, six spectrum bands have been identified by Enacom for potential sale in the tender: 1.5GHz, AWS-3 (1,770-1,780MHz / 2,170-2,200MHz), 2.3GHz, 3.5GHz, and the millimeter bands 26GHz and 38GHz.

“Despite there being different points of view between the State and the companies, we have always been able to sit down and talk to achieve the best conditions, because everyone's goal is the same: for all Argentines to be connected,” said Ariel Martínez, Enacom's cabinet chief, in an indirect reference to the arm wrestling between telcos and the watchdog over decree DNU 690, which imposed price controls on telecommunications.

Telcos’ representatives at the event generally praised the government’s 5G initiative. 

Hernán Colombo, head of regulatory affairs and wholesale at Personal Argentina, pointed to the predisposition for dialogue between the public and private sectors, but noted that the development of a mobile ecosystem such as 5G one requires “stable rules.”

For his part, Telefónica Argentina’s regulatory and competition affairs director, Juan Manuel Haddad, said that there is still a long way to go with 4G in the country, but that “it seems very good to us that it's a State policy to start a dialogue and plan the 5G tender.”

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