Mexico’s telecommunications regulator said any operator can take part in a spectrum auction to be held this year, although it will set caps.

The news means America Movil is free to bid. Competitors had called for limits to be placed on the operator’s participation after it acquired a chunk of spectrum in 2017.

In a statement, Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones (IFT) said it is set to auction 120MHz of spectrum in the 2500MHz to 2690MHz range which can be used for wireless services. This includes broadband, 5G and IoT, Reuters reported.

“In reality nobody, no operator is restricted from participating, but we have determined spectrum caps,” Alejandro Navarrete, the head of spectrum at IFT, said on local radio, Reuters reported.

The caps will depend on the amount of spectrum operators already have, he stated.

In its statement IFT also said participants “must present a guarantee of seriousness of MXN700 million [$37.1 million], which may increase during the bidding process” and set aside certain obligations the winners must meet.

One of these is to provide mobile services to at least 200 localities which currently lack access.

The auction process will run from 13 February to the end of the year.

In terms of market share, America Movil leads the way by a big margin (63 per cent) in Q4 2017, GSMA Intelligence figures showed. Telefonica is at number two with 24 per cent and AT&T follows with 14 per cent.