US companies Nextel and VTR Moviles are reportedly the only bidders in a 3G spectrum auction in Chile, according to a Reuters report that cites sources close to the auction process. “It’s a fact that Nextel and VTR Moviles will be the new players in the mobile market,” said the source, adding that both companies had fulfilled all the auction requirements. The Chilean regulator is offering three blocks of 30MHz 3G mobile spectrum. Under the terms of the auction, a single mobile operator is prohibited from owning more than 60MHz, which means that Nextel or VTR will get one block each. The regulator will take around two months to review the bids before accepting formal offers from both US companies, the report said.
The two US players will compete with three existing operators, the local unit of Spain’s Telefonica Movistar, Chile’s Entel PCS, and Mexico’s America Movil, which uses the Claro brand in Chile. According to Wireless Intelligence data, the market is led by Movistar, which had 7 million connections in 1Q09, followed by Entel (5.9 million) and Claro (3 million). Reuters notes that VTR Moviles is owned by international cable group Liberty Global, while Nextel operates several radio frequencies and has already shown interest in entering Chile’s mobile market.