ASUNCION – Paraguay has launched a spectrum auction for 4G wireless services, the first of its kind in the South American country, the telecommunications regulator, known as Conatel, told EFE.
The sale of spectrum in the 1,700-2,100 MHz advanced wireless services band will allow up to three companies to develop and market 4G services, Conatel’s president, Teresita Palacios, said after the auction was launched Wednesday.
Winning bidders must begin providing service eight months after being awarded their licenses, according to the auction rules published on Conatel’s Web site.
“We expect and are confident that three companies will participate because the operators themselves asked for the spectrum so they could develop the technology,” Palacios said.
Paraguay’s mobile telephony and Internet market is divided up among state-owned Copaco and the local units of the Luxembourg-based Millicom group, Telecom Argentina and Mexico’s America Movil.
The three private companies have asked Conatel to make more 4G spectrum available to enable them to offer ultra-fast mobile broadband service and have participated in public consultations on the rules governing the call for tenders, Palacios said.
“It’s a historic day. We’re paying (the price) because we should have done this a long time ago. We want better service and better capacity,” she added.
Copaco, which operates under the VOX brand, is the only operator in Paraguay that has been awarded spectrum for 4G services to date and it has not yet developed the technology, the official said, adding that all of the country’s neighbors already have 4G services and are even looking ahead to 5G.
In Latin America, Brazil, Chile and Colombia have made the most strides in bringing this technology to consumers, according to a report presented in April in Rio de Janeiro by 4G Americas, a wireless industry trade association.