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Chile Publishes Details of 3G License Tender

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The Chilean telecoms regulator, Subtel has published the tender details for a round of 3G licenses, which it anticipates will bring a new entrant into the market. The auction for the licenses is due to be held in July, a notice on the regulators website announced.

The regulator is auctioning off three licenses with 30Mhz in both the 2.1Ghz and 1700Mhz bands. If any incumbent operator wins an auction and ends up with in excess of 60Mhz of total radio spectrum, then they will be required to surrender the surplus back to the regulator to be resold.

"This is an industry that has grown on double-digit since 2006 until today, multiplying the number of people accessing services. This contest 3G gives a possibility of increased competition that will directly benefit consumers," said Minister of Transport and Telecommunications, René Cortázar.

A review of the spectrum limit was looked into in 2007 by country's antitrust regulator TDLC to address the limit of 60Mhz established after Movistar acquired the assets of then Bellsouth because Movistar and Entel are already at the established limit and therefore could not compete in the auction. The compromise allows them to bid, but to them dispose of any surplus 2G spectrum which takes them above the court mandated 60Mhz.

The country has three operators, and figures from the mobile world notes that their respective market shares at the end of last year were: Telefonica Moviles (43.2%); Entel (37.7%) and Claro (18.9%). Nextel International also operates a network, with a negligible number of customers. The country itself ended last year with 15.9 million mobile phone subscribers, representing a population penetration level of 96.4%.

On the web: Subtel - Mobile World

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