Mexico to hold 4G AWS auction; process open to new entrants

Mexico to hold 4G AWS auction; process open to new entrants

21 SEP 2015

Mexico is ramping up its 4G efforts after telecoms watchdog Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT) announced plans to auction 80 MHz of spectrum in January next year.

The auction, which includes 30 MHz of AWS-1 airwaves (1710-1725 MHz/2110-2125MHz) and 50 MHz in the AWS-3 band (1775-1780 MHz/2155-2180 MHz), “allows for the deployment of 4G and LTE, useful to provide mobile services throughout the national territory technologies”, IFT said in a statement.

The process will be open to existing mobile operators, as well as “potential new operators wishing to deploy a wireless network in Mexico”.

Mexico also revealed plans last year it would sell off 60 MHz of frequencies in bands between 1.71 GHz and 2.17 GHz, suitable for 4G during 2015, although it did not reveal exact timelines on when the auction will be held. It last auctioned off AWS spectrum in 2010.

According to GSMA Intelligence, Mexico has more than 5 million 4G connections, with America Movil’s Telcel leading the way with more than 3.8 million connections.

AT&T, however, which has boosted its presence in Mexico this year through acquisition, is yet to launch 4G in the country, according to current data.

IFT said it is now seeking public comment on the proposal to gather views on the direction of the proposed final bidding of the band. The regulator is seeking opinion on potentially packaging spectrum, setting spectrum caps and minimum reference prices.

According to its current timelines, the process to submit public opinions will last until 16 October, before it will decide on final terms and conditions.

Interested parties will then have to declare whether they want to participate in the process by November.

The regulator said it could set a limit on the maximum amount of spectrum an operator can acquire “to allow the entry of new operators” in the market. It is currently proposing to sell off 5 MHz of paired spectrum blocks.

January’s planned auction also represents a first for Latin America. The process will run through a Combinatorial Clock Auction (CCA), a format widely used for 4G spectrum globally.

It is a process that has run successfully in a number of countries, including Australia, Canada and the UK, and will allow “bidding results to improve the efficiency of spectrum and therefore competition in the long term in the mobile market”, IFT added.

Author

Kavit Majithia

Kavit joined Mobile World Live in May 2015 as Content Editor. He started his journalism career at the Press Association before joining Euromoney’s graduate scheme in April 2010. Read More >>

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