In an auction that raised 5 trillion pesos ($1.5 Billion USD), Colombia allocated mobile spectrum to operators America Movil (Claro) (NYSE: AMX, BMV: AMXL) and Millicom (Tigo) (NASD: TIGO, STO: TIGO SDB), and to British private equity investors Novator Partners. Telefónica’s (BME: TEF) Movistar was not awarded spectrum, as Telefónica seeks to distance itself from Spanish speaking Latin America.
The Ministry of Information Technology and Communications indicated that Millicom obtained 40Mhz of spectrum in the 700MHz band, Claro obtained 20MHz in the 700MHz band, and 30MHz in the 2.5GHz band. Novator Partners obtained 20MHz in the 700MHz band and 30MHz in the 2.5GHz band.
The entire spectrum allocation in the 2.5GHz band was taken, and10MHz remains in the 700MHz band. No offers were submitted for the 1.9GHz band. Lower bands such as 700MHz propagates well for rural communications while the capacity of the higher frequency bands is better suited to dense urban areas.
“With the Law of Modernization of the ICT Sector (Law 1978 of 2019) a very favorable environment was created for the arrival of new investors to the country and the most important thing is that it allows this assignment to prioritize social welfare and not financial income. So our goal is to connect those Colombians who have never had this service. This is how the auction becomes the most ambitious mobile connectivity project in the country,” said ICT Minister Sylvia Constaín (Above photo, speaking).
America Movil’s Claro is Colombia’s largest mobile carrier followed by Telefónica’s Movistar, Millicom’s Tigo, and local carriers Avantel which focuses on the corporate market, and Bogotá’s ETB (Empresa de Telecomunicaciónes de Bogotá) (BVC: ETB).