No delay to 5G tender in Chile despite Movistar’s objections

No delay to 5G tender in Chile despite Movistar’s objections

A rather unusual 5G story comes from Chile, where operator Movistar recently requested that the imminent second 5G spectrum tender be suspended – a request that has been rejected by the Chilean antitrust authority the TDLC (el Tribunal de Defensa de la Libre Competencia).

It seems that in mid-January Movistar requested the suspension of the bidding process because it claimed the terms favour rival bidder Claro – or rather the now merged Claro and VTR (a merger we reported in October 2022). It suggested, among other things, that ratings based on coverage and business plans may favour operators deploying new infrastructure and that a ‘tie-breaker’ rule involving a bidding contest for spectrum may also favour ClaroVTR.

A ban on the use of third-party infrastructure to achieve coverage targets was also cited along with stricter obligations applying to Entel, Movistar and WOM – which won 50MHz each in the 3.5GHz band in 2021 — but not to ClaroVTR, which is a new 5G competitor.

The company claimed that a suspension of the 5G tender would be necessary and seemed also to suggest that it would consider legal action against regulator Subtel.

However, quoted by the BNamericas news service, the TDLC responded: “It is not admissible, as the evidence presented does not constitute a serious presumption of the right being claimed.”

The TDLC ruling means that the schedule of the tender remains unchanged: it takes place on 20 February.

This is not, strictly speaking, an auction but an evaluation, according to the rules announced late last year. BNamericas says Subtel plans to grant between one and five spectrum concessions of no less than 10MHz in the 3.40-3.60GHz band to install and operate a high-speed 5G or superior network. The concessions will have a term of 30 years.

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