Colombia sets a date for spectrum auction

Colombia sets a date for spectrum auction

The date for the Colombian 700MHz, 1900MHz, 2500MHz auction has finally been agreed.

Colombia’s Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications has announced a date of 12 December 2019 for the licence bidding, inviting potential bidders to study the requirements and conditions for participating in the auction process.

The eventual rollout will, it is hoped, benefit underserved areas across the country that lack mobile broadband connectivity, especially rural and remote areas.

The technical details of the auction are as follows: 2×45MHz of 700MHz spectrum (703MHz-748MHz paired with 758MHz-803MHz), split into four 2×10MHz blocks and one 2×5MHz portion, plus a 2×2.5MHz 1900MHz band allocation and eight 10MHz blocks in the 2500MHz band.

New spectrum is expected to be used initially for 4G services (augmenting existing LTE networks). The 700MHz band will also be used for 5G rollout. Licences will be issued for a 20-year period.

Colombian president Iván Duque has reportedly promised to ensure internet connectivity for all Colombians by the end of his term in 2022.

The auctions come after a six-year wait and several postponed dates, and are a key part of  ICT reform approved in July.

To further encourage deployment, this auction will prioritise technical proposals and speed of rollout over bidding price – an interesting decision given the ongoing controversy about spectrum pricing in many countries, and one that will no doubt be watched with interest by operators in areas that have yet to move to 4G or 5G.

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