Mexico prepares tender for up to 330MHz of spectrum

Bnamericas Published: Tuesday, January 10, 2023
Mexico prepares tender for up to 330MHz of spectrum

Mexico’s telecom regulator IFT approved launching a public consultation for the next bidding round for radioelectric spectrum for mobile services.

The country has more than 330MHz of spectrum available and some of it is seen as ideal for next-generation services such as 5G.

IFT plans to offer 70MHz in the 600MHz band (614-698MHz), 50MHz in the 3.3GHz band and 90MHz in the L band (1,427-1,518MHz), all of which are conducive to the development of 5G.

The regulator also has surplus spectrum available that it could include in the auction. These are 20MHz in 800MHz and another 20MHz in 850MHz, 40MHz in the 2.5GHz band, 10MHz in the AWS band (1,700-2,100MHz) and up to 80MHz in the PCS band (1,800-1,900MHz) in different configurations (national, regional or local). Part of this spectrum corresponds to the portions that Movistar vacated when it relinquished the spectrum.

In total, IFT plans to award 330MHz, of which 90MHz corresponds to low bands and 240MHz to medium bands.

Previously, the watchdog had identified up to 7,750MHz of spectrum in millimeter bands that could be made available. However, the spectrum in high bands is not contemplated in this public consultation and would remain available for a new tender.

The public consultation contains specific questions regarding the bands available for bidding, configuration proposals and size of the blocks to be offered, application of spectrum accumulation limits, options for the allocation mechanism to be used, participation incentives, measures to be implemented to promote participation and the most appropriate dates for the start of the bidding process, among others.

"The design of this new tender will seek to assign the largest amount of spectrum possible and that new players in the mobile market can access this resource," especially in unattended areas, the regulator said in a statement.

The high cost of acquiring frequency rights has resulted in the failure of previous bidding processes.

Mexican operators are currently offering 5G services in the mid-band spectrum holdings. However, they require a greater amount of spectrum to be able to expand their services.

The 5G spectrum auction is expected to happen this year.

The IFT consultation is open until February 3 at this link.

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