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Chile's big three win LTE spectrum

01 августа 2012

Chile's three main mobile network operators have acquired spectrum suitable for rolling out LTE services, something that regulator Subtel believes will help satisfy growing demand for connectivity from consumers.

America Movil's Claro, Entel, and Telefonica's Movistar unit all won spectrum in the 2.6-GHz band. The three were the only participants in the process, which raised just over US$12 million.

Claro won spectrum block A with a bid of US$2.9 million; Entel offered US$8.8 million to secure block B; and Movistar agreed to pay just over US$500,000 for block C. Bids were submitted in 'Unidad de Fomento' (UF), a unit of money in Chile introduced at a time of high inflation, the value of which varies daily (see below).

"These new spectrum allocations... [will enable Chile] to meet the explosive consumer demand for mobile connectivity services," Subtel said in a statement. The regulator pointed out that the country is "already" home to 3.5 million 3G connections.

3G take-up is certainly rising in Chile. At the end of 2011 subscriptions numbered just under 3 million, up from 1.5 million a year earlier. However, 3G still represents a small percentage of the market's total mobile customer base, which reached 22.7 million at the end of March, according to Subtel's latest statistics.

"With this process we have responded to the need for increased supply and capacity of mobile networks to meet demand from users," said Subtel head Jorge Atton. "Now it is up to companies making the investments necessary to implement new and better services," he said.

Indeed, the tender rules required that the bids include investment plans worth more than 5 million UF, or over US$230 million, in total.

Once the licences have been formally allocated the three winning bidders will have 12 months to deploy their networks. They are also required to connect 543 isolated areas named by the regulator within 24 months.

Movistar, Entel and Claro dominate the Chilean mobile market, together holding 99.8% of subscribers. At the end of March Entel was the market leader, slightly ahead of Movistar, with 8.72 million customers.

Bids for 4G spectrum (in UF) and exchange rates


Unidad de Fomento (UF)

Chilean pesos (millions)

US dollars (millions)














Источник: Total Telecom

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