Colombian Ministry receives 161 WiMAX licence applications, allocates 55

Colombia's communications ministry Mincomunicaciones (MinCom) has assigned 55 departmental WiMAX licences for 3.5GHz spectrum.

MinCom had received 161 proposals from 24 companies by August 14, all keen to provide services throughout Colombia's 32 departments but the ministry repeatedly delayed announcing the winners. The original date for the announcement of the winning bids was supposed to be at the start of September.

In the event, Cable Unión de Occidente won 19 licences, Comcel, a division of América Móvil, received 13, mobile carrier Avantel was awarded seven, Comunicaciones Satelitales de Colombia six, Cablecentro five, Emcali two, and Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de la Orinoquía, Wireless Colombia and Servisatélite one each.

The road to rewarding the licences was a rocky one, not least when Avantel, a mobile carrier accused a mobile carrier Comcel of being late (by five minutes) in submitting its plans. MinCom declared that the application had been submitted in good time.

The Communications Minister María del Rosario Guerra released a statement: "We expect the operators that have been awarded the licences to offer wireless broadband service that will allow the country to enjoy better communications and to expand technologies across the country...The challenge is huge but I know that all these operators will immediately proceed to generate all the required infrastructure across the country so that Colombia closes the digital divide that we endure."

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