Chile completes first 5G spectrum tender in Latin America

Chile completed what it claims to be the first tender to assign 5G spectrum in Latin America, the country’s telecommunications regulator Subtel said in a release.

The watchdog said that the government raised $453 million in four rounds (700 MHz, AWS, 3.5 GHz and 26 GHz), which is 512% more than what was collected in all previous spectrum tenders combined.

Subtel also confirmed that a total of 1.8 gigahertz was awarded for mobile broadband.

Mobile operators Movistar, Entel and WOM secured 50 megahertz of 3.5 GHz spectrum each, disbursing 117 billion pesos (about $163 million), 100 billion pesos and 32 billion pesos respectively.

“Today we close a successful contest for 5G networks, which will not only be transformational for the citizens of our country, but will also deliver important resources to the fiscal coffers, which are always important, especially in times of pandemic. Our mission as a ministry is to connect the country and, without a doubt, that the new 5G network, together with other of our initiatives, will be transformed into high-speed roads that will improve the quality of life of our users,” said Minister of Transport and Telecommunications Gloria Hutt.

“Today we are finishing one of the objectives that we set ourselves from the beginning of this Government, which is to tender spectrum for the development of 5G networks, which will directly benefit the citizens, academia and the different productive sectors of the country,” said the Undersecretary of Telecommunications, Pamela Gidi.

WOM, which is controlled by U.K. fund Novator Partners, also secured additional frequencies in the process.

WOM won a 20 megahertz block in the 700 MHz band, 30 megahertz in the AWS band, and 50 megahertz in the 3.5 GHz band, paying around $150 million.

Claro and Entel also secured additional spectrum in the 26 GHz band.

The Chilean government expects the future development of 5G networks will lead to additional investments of $5 billion over five years.

According to the requirements set by Subtel, a total of 366 localities with no connectivity as well as 199 hospitals must be connected to the new networks using the frequencies assigned to the winners.

Likewise, outside urban areas, various airports, centers of scientific interest and seaports will also be favored, Subtel said.

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