Argentina: 3.3-3.6GHz 5G auctions less than a fortnight away

Argentina: 3.3-3.6GHz 5G auctions less than a fortnight away

Argentina’s communications regulator Enacom has confirmed the country's planned upcoming 5G spectrum auction for 24 October and suggested it will raise about US$1.05 billion.

Some 300MHz of spectrum in the 3.3GHz-3.6GHz range will be auctioned in three 100MHz TDD blocks. Each block will have a base bidding price of US$350 million. Of course that could mean income of well over the suggested US$1.05 billion, which would be good news for government coffers.

In fact, as Reuters suggests, the announcement comes as the government is seeking foreign currency to deal with an economic crisis, with the peso in free fall and the central bank's reserves in short supply.

Emphasising the collaborative aims of the auction, Enacom says: “The deployment of 5G in Argentina constitutes a medium and long-term state policy, which will require collaboration between the public and private sectors: companies must make investments for the renovation of the network infrastructure; and governments, allow commercialization at affordable prices and certainty for fair competition.”

It adds that three operators have already submitted bid guarantees and have been pre-qualified as bidders, pointing out that the allocation mechanism is “very advanced”.

It’s true that Claro Argentina, Telefonica Argentina (Movistar) and Telecom Argentina (Personal) all submitted applications to participate in the auction ahead of the 29 September 2023 deadline, although, as we reported at the time, Telefonica and Telecom Argentina confirmed their bids at the last minute.

In addition, despite Enacom’s stated assurance that the auction and the base price “are aligned with other international experiences of spectrum bidding that have been successful for national States”, the country's three main mobile operators – and industry association the GSMA – have expressed concern at the terms laid down by Enacom.


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