Uruguay confirms spectrum renewal prices

Bnamericas Published: Friday, December 02, 2022

A decree issued by Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou confirmed that telecommunications operators who renew their licenses must pay regulator Ursec "the same price they paid when the [spectrum] use was assigned."

Uruguayan operators must begin the frequency renewal process because part of the 1900MHz band held by Telefónica expires this month. Other spectrum bands owned by Telefónica, Claro and Antel also expire in 2023-24.

The decree states that the operators can already request renewal of the spectrum awarded to Telefónica Móviles de Uruguay in December 2002 and December 2004, to Claro June 2004 and May 2011 to state-owned telco Antel in November 22, 2011.

In order to renew, the operators must pay the same price that they originally paid within a period of 30 calendar days, counted from the notification of the spectrum renewal decision.

In previous comments to BNamericas, Claro warned that this decision could create distortions in the market. 

"We believe it is important to define the renewal criteria, setting clear and equitable rules so that all operators pay the same prices for spectrum with similar benefits,” said Alejandro Quiroga López, Claro's director of regulatory and institutional affairs. Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

In December 2002, Telefónica paid US$6mn for the 1900MHz band, while Claro paid US$18mn two years later for the same band, according to spectrum award resolutions published at the time.

The Uruguayan government could collect up to US$54mn for the frequency renewals, according to calculations by local press.

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