Posts filed under ‘BNamericas’
Chilean telecoms regulator Subtel has extended the date for receiving and opening bids for 3G licences by five days, to 20 July writes BNamericas citing Subtel. The long-anticipated auction of UMTS concessions was launched in April, with bidding rules on sale until 30 June. In accordance with a Supreme Court ruling on 27 January, existing wireless players can participate in the spectrum auction, but if any company surpasses the 60MHz limit it is obliged to return some of its spectrum in other bands to the state. The three existing operators in the country are at or close to the limit: Entel PCS already has 60MHz, while Movistar and Claro have 55MHz each. Subtel has expressed that the intention of this measure is to allow a fourth operator to enter the market and focus expressly on offering 3G services.
Chile’s Supreme Court has ruled in favour of establishing spectrum limits for existing operators that want to participate in upcoming auctions for 3G licences, writes BNamericas citing telecoms regulator Subtel. In July antitrust commission FNE, cable TV operator VTR and Subtel appealed a decision by antitrust tribunal TDLC that would not allow for the reservation of spectrum for a new, fourth mobile operator to enter the market. Of the 90MHz available (45MHz for uplink and 45MHz for downlink), Subtel had hoped to reserve some 60MHz for a new operator that would focus mainly on providing value added services, while allowing the three existing wireless operators Entel PCS, Movistar and Claro to compete for 10MHz each. FNE took it a step further, arguing that the existing operators should not be allowed to participate, on the basis that they have sufficient spectrum already.
The latest ruling from the Santiago court says that no operator should hold more than 60MHz. Entel PCS already has this amount of spectrum, while Movistar and Claro have 55MHz each. The court ruled that existing players could participate in the upcoming spectrum auctions but that if they surpass the permitted limit they would be obliged to return some spectrum to the state. Some of the operators have spectrum in other frequencies such as 800MHz and 1900MHz. As regards spectrum, the court also said that Subtel ought to subdivide the spectrum in the 1710MHz-1755MHz and 2110MHz-2155MHz frequency bands into blocks that enable the efficient use of the spectrum at reasonable costs to provide 3G on a national scale.
Three telecoms operators have expressed interest in becoming the strategic partner of Ecuadorian state-owned mobile operator Telecsa (Alegro PCS), according to BNamericas quoting local newspaper El Telegrafo. The three potential investors are Venezuelan state-owned cellco Movilnet, Uruguay’s government-run telco Antel and Indonesian operator Telkom. According to the reports, selection of the partner will be concluded in 60-90 days, and is expected to inject capital to boost the mobile operator’s business in Ecuador, where it is positioned third in the subscriber market behind Mexican-backed Conecel (Porta) and Spanish-owned Movistar. Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa threatened earlier this month that if Alegro did not turn a profit within twelve months, it would be sold. According to previous press reports, the firm has reported USD200 million in losses since its creation.
The mobile arm of Honduran national PTO Hondutel is making headway in the sector despite intense local competition, says company CEO Jorge Alberto Rosa, as reported by BNamericas quoting an interview with local daily La Tribuna. ‘We continue to grow; in the area of Santa Rosa de Copan we are finishing the installation of new offices and we are ready to offer mobile telephony,’ the CEO said. Hondutel, through Honducel, launched mobile services in July 2007 but has reputedly struggled to flourish due to its solely urban coverage. The service, which is available in the capital Tegucigalpa as well as in San Pedro Sula, La Ceiba, Juticalpa, Catacamas and 200 other communities, has 80,000 users.
Venezuelan telecoms regulator Conatel has awarded a concession to GSM mobile operator Digitel for 10MHz of radio spectrum in the 900MHz frequency band, local press reported, quoted by BNamericas. The spectrum was originally promised last May, and cost the country’s third largest cellco over USD26 million, according to the report. Digitel has revealed plans to roll out 3G UMTS services by the end of this quarter. Via the new bandwidth allocation Digitel will be able to expand its services in several states including Amazonas, Anzoategui, Apure, Barinas, Delta Amacuro, Lara, Merida, Monagas, Nueva Esparta, Portuguesa, Sucre, Tachira, Trujillo and Zulia. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, both of Digitel’s larger rivals Movistar and Movilnet were awarded additional 30MHz spectrum blocks in the 1900MHz band in October 2007, in an auction in which Digitel was left empty handed. In June 2004 Digitel was awarded 10MHz of spectrum in the 900MHz range to alleviate problems of network saturation; in return the operator handed back trunking spectrum in the 800MHz range to Conatel.
Chinese telecoms equipment supplier Huawei has won a USD235 million contract to develop a 3G network for Costa Rican state telecoms operator ICE, writes BNamericas. The 3G network, which will comprise 950,000 lines and will be financed by the Central American Bank for Economic Development (Cabei), is expected to be operational by the fourth quarter. Huawei submitted the lowest of three bids in November; the other two bidding companies were Ericsson (which bid USD341 million) and ZTE (USD447 million).
Venezuelan GSM mobile operator Digitel expects to announce the commercial launch of 3G services by the end of the first quarter of this year, reports BNamericas, quoting its commercial vice president Luis Perez, who was speaking to local press. The VP also said that the cellco expected to add 1.5 million new mobile lines during 2009 to reach a total of around 7.5 million, and expected the launch of 3G to play a significant part in achieving this aim. Subscribers in greater Caracas alone are expected to total 2.8 million by year-end, with a total of 1.3 million customers in the Centro region and a further one million in the Centro Llanos region also predicted. According to AIKresearh’s database, Venezuela’s largest cellco by subscribers, state-run Movilnet, has tentatively scheduled the rollout of 3G UMTS services for late 2009, following its limited rollout of a GSM-based network in December 2008, whilst second-place operator Movistar Venezuela, owned by Spain’s Telefonica, launched 3G/3.5G W-CDMA/HSDPA services earlier in the same month. Both Movilnet and Movistar have reported high levels of demand for their 3G EV-DO-based data/internet services, both of which were launched in 2005.