El Salvador to launch long-delayed mobile spectrum auction in H1

18 Jan 2017

El Salvador’s Electricity and Telecommunications Superintendency (Superintendencia General de Electricidad y Telecom, SIGET) plans to hold the long-delayed auction of 120MHz of mobile spectrum in the first half of this year, La Prensa Grafica quotes the regulator’s head, Blanca Coto, as saying. ‘We are in the process of identifying which companies would be interested in participating. We have had a very good reception, not only with local companies but also with international companies, since this additional spectrum means having better and bigger networks for telecommunications,’ she stated.

The process has been delayed after competition regulator the Superintendencia de Competencia (SC) suspended a tender for 40MHz of nationwide mobile spectrum in the 1900MHz and 1700MHz/2100MHz (AWS) bands back in October 2013. The SC argued that the auction rules put potential new players at a disadvantage as they faced barriers to market entry, thus inhibiting the development of competition. The SC objected to the fact that the spectrum would be awarded to the highest bidder, regardless of how much spectrum the company already had, or its current market share. Eventually, amendments to the Telecommunications Law concerning the allocation of spectrum were approved by the government in May 2016, including changes in the procedure of assigning frequencies and an alternative mechanism to the auction, indicating that the process was set to be resumed.

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