The Colombian government has received offers from six bidders interested in an auction of 4G radio frequencies, which will raise a minimum of $250 million in total from the winners.
The participants were announced by minister for information technology and communications Diego Molano, as reported by Reuters.
The six offers were from Claro, which is part of America Movil; a consortium of Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Bogota (ETB) and Millicom-controlled Tigo; Colombia Telecomunicaciones, which is controlled by Spain’s Telefonica; Avantel; DirectTV; and a consortium led by Mexico TV firm Azteca.
Colombia currently has five licensed operators, raising the possibility of new competition following the auction.
The country’s existing operators are Claro, Tigo, Colombia Telecomunicaciones, Avantel and UNE, which is backed by Empresas Publicas de Medellin (EPM).
The ministry will evaluate the offers before announcing a shortlist of bidders on 26 June.
In addition to a minimum of $250 million, the winners will also have to contribute 500,00 tablets for Colombian schools, and provide 4G services for the country’s army.
Claro is far and away the country’s dominant mobile operator at present, according to figures from Wireless Intelligence. It has 27.6 million subscribers out of a total base of 45.6 million (Q1, 2013 figures).