Chilean regulator Subtel (Subsecretaria de Telecomunicaciones / Department of Telecommunications) has plotted a course towards settling an ongoing dispute over 3.5GHz spectrum licensing.
The issue arose following last year’s 5G spectrum auctions, in which Entel, Movistar and WOM purchased spectrum in the band for a significant fee. However, Chile’s three other operators Claro, GTD and VTR were all granted fixed wireless licences for free all the way back in 2001.
Local outlet Diario Financiero quoted Subsecretary of Telecommunications Claudio Araya as saying that the spectrum held by the latter three operators is not being used effectively as the concessions do not allow it to be used for mobile services. He argued that the capacity must be used to accommodate bandwidth-hungry 5G services as they gain traction in the market.
Araya said that Subtel intended to allow the operators with fixed wireless service permits to use their concessions for 5G mobile offerings, as this would ensure a swift resolution to the issue that would not adversely affect competition.
CommsUpdate reported that to ensure that the upgrade progresses smoothly and with the blessing of all parties involved, executives from all six operators will meet with regulatory officials and other industry figures to agree a fair rate for both the spectrum holdings and the upgrade to the concessions.
Once the price has been agreed, Subtel will put the matter before antitrust body TDLC (Tribunal de Defensa de la Libre Competencia), which previously ruled that spectrum in the 3.5GHz band may only be issued via a public tender.