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Colombia confirms 700MHz auction for 2015, offers other bands

Bnamericas Published: Friday, April 04, 2014

Colombia's national spectrum agency ANE confirmed that spectrum in the 700MHz band will be tendered in 2015, as well as some spectrum in other bands, local publication La República reported.

As well as the 700MHz band, some 70MHz of spectrum is also available in the 900MHz band, as well as 5MHz in the 1.9GHz band and 40MHz in the 2.5GHz band.

The government will also make some spectrum in lower bands available, including 10MHz in the 450MHz band, ANE director Óscar León said.

The previous spectrum tender held in Colombia included specific regulations to promote the entrance of new players and restrictions on the participation of Claro, but it is as yet unclear what the precise bidding rules will be for the upcoming auction.

The 700MHz tender was initially expected to take place during this year, but operators had asked ICT minister Diego Molano not to auction the band until 2015 because they were still busy rolling out 4G services from the spectrum awarded last year in the 2.5GHz and AWS bands.

Operators are currently working to meet strict coverage obligations established by ICT ministry Mintic as a result of last year's spectrum auction, but are struggling to obtain permission from local government authorities to deploy infrastructure over fears of health risks from mobile antennas.

"Today, operators are prepared to invest in 3,000 more base stations but the municipalities won't give them the permits," Molano said.

Total 4G connections in Colombia reached 215,780 in the country at the end of last year, with the market almost exclusively controlled by state telco UNE.

However, 4G subscribers in the country will be expected to increase significantly this year as major operators continue to roll out services and are executing an aggressive pricing strategy.

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