Conatel awards 4G LTE licences to Claro, Tigo

2 Oct 2013

The Honduran telecoms regulator Comision Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (Conatel) has awarded Long Term Evolution (LTE)-suitable spectrum in the 1700MHz and 2100MHz frequency bands to international telecoms companies America Movil and Millicom, operating in the country under the Claro and Tigo brands, respectively. El Heraldo reports that the bidding stage of the CNT-CP003/2013 auction was concluded on 1 October, in the presence of Conatel officials and representatives of the bidders. According to the article, the first block to be auctioned (Block B2), comprising of 2×20MHz paired blocks (frequency division duplex, FDD) in the 1730MHz-1750MHz and 2130MHz-2150MHz bands, attracted two bids; Claro offered USD12.050 million, while Tigo’s financial proposal amounted to USD12.025 million. Subsequently, the auctioned frequency band was awarded to Claro. Block B1, which comprised of 2×20MHz paired blocks in the 1710MHz-1730MHz and 2110MHz-2130MHz bands was granted to Tigo, as the company was the only bidder for the concession; the cellco paid USD12.055 million for the authorisation. Block B3, previously announced as available in a public consultation dated 22 July 2013, was granted to state-owned telco Hondutel for use after its anticipated privatisation, as ordered by the president, Porfirio Lobo Sosa. B3 comprises of 2×20MHz paired blocks in the 1750MHz-1770MHz and 2150MHz-2170MHz bands.

Under the terms set out by the licences, the cellcos are required to establish and operate national 2G networks in 100% of Honduran municipalities within three years from authorisation; their 3G networks must reach 25% territorial coverage in the same period, while the footprint of the 4G networks should cover 15% of the territory by 2016, corresponding to the country’s major cities. Conatel’s president Ricardo Cardona said there is a period between 15 and 18 months for Claro and Tigo to deploy their LTE networks; both companies are also required to offer the services in at least ten of the major cities in the country.

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