Argentina readies new spectrum auction

Monday, March 19, 2018

Argentina is reportedly planning a new spectrum auction, with which it could raise up to US$800mn.

The government is considering awarding 90MHz of spectrum, according to Reuters. Of these, 60Mhz used to be licensed to Airlink and were returned to the government in 2015, and another 30MHz are currently used by state telco Arsat.

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The three major telcos operating in Argentina – Telecom Argentina, Telefónica's Movistar and América Móvil's Claro – would be interested in bidding, the report said.

However, such an auction would require changes in the regulation, via a law or presidential decree, as the current law benefits Arsat.

The government would also raise the spectrum cap - the maximum amount each operator can hold - especially given the merger of Telecom Argentina and Cablevisión.

With the merger (and the consequent acquisition of the spectrum licensed to Cablevisión) Telecom Argentina reached the 140MHz cap and would not be able to be awarded new licenses without a change in current limits.

Movistar and Claro, according to Reuters, confirmed interest in participating of the auction.

The latest major spectrum auction in Argentina was last year, when Movistar, Claro and Telecom Argentina acquired blocks of spectrum in the 2,500-2,690MHz (2.5GHz) frequency range.