Subtel clears Claro to use 3.5GHz spectrum for 5G in Chile

Subtel clears Claro to use 3.5GHz spectrum for 5G in Chile

Chilean regulator Subtel has granted the local unit of Claro provisional authorisation to offer commercial 5G services via its 3.5GHz spectrum.

As reported by Mexico-based DPL Group, the regulator’s decision followed recommendations from Chile’s Free Competition Tribunal and Supreme Court, both of which argued that having four competitors in the 5G space would improve competition and provide a better experience for mobile users – despite claims to the contrary from Claro’s rivals Entel, Movistar and Wom.

Thus far, Claro has been unable to launch a 5G offering in Chile as the 3.5GHz band was restricted to fixed wireless use. However, this limitation was overturned by a court ruling earlier this year, making 5G a possibility for Claro. Since the operator did not obtain its spectrum at auction, it will be required to present a technical plan similar to those presented during the 2020 auctions, as well as an investment roadmap for connecting remote locations.

“As a regulatory entity, we are mandated to make decisions where the national interest prevails. This authorization, which is provisional, is taken with the objective of optimizing the use of the spectrum so that it can be operated for the benefit of citizens. When there is greater competition, the plans are more attractive, prices drop and people have more options to decide”, said Subtel chief Claudio Araya San Martín.

According to Subtel’s data, at end-2022 there were 2,040,071 5G connections in Chile. Entel leads the market with 904,000 connections, giving it a market share of 44.3%. Movistar has 609,000 connections, while Wom takes third place with 256,000.

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