Argentina’s government is likely to withhold a significant amount of spectrum from a '4G' auction due to happen next year, reports Dow Jones Newswires.
During a recent television interview, Julio De Vido, Argentina’s Planning Minister, reportedly said the government would retain an “important” quantity of the spectrum compatible with the high-speed mobile-phone technology.
Back in September, authorities cancelled an auction of additional 3G spectrum that had attracted interest from Telecom Argentina (Buenos Aires, Argentina), America Movil (Mexico City, Mexico), Telefonica (Madrid, Spain) and NII Holdings (Reston, USA), the country’s four existing mobile-phone operators.
The spectrum made its way into the possession of Arsat (Buenos Aires, Argentina), a state-controlled organization that has been working on the rollout of digital-television services in rural and remote parts of Argentina. Now in control of about 20% of available 3G spectrum, Arsat is on the lookout for partners to build a mobile-phone network.
It seems likely that Arsat will become the recipient of the 4G spectrum the government intends to hold back from the auction process.
According to Dow Jones, De Vido has said the market entry of Arsat and upcoming 4G auction will lead to improvements for Argentinean consumers.
Many have complained about poor coverage and quality of services in Buenos Aires and the surrounding area.
De Vido’s comments may be taken as a sign of increasing state intervention in business affairs and the growing hostility of the current administration to private-sector players.
Earlier this year, Argentina nationalized the main oil business, which was previously owned by Spain’s Repsol (Madrid, Spain).