Chile has wrapped up its auction of spectrum for new 4G services, raising a total of $12 billion from América Móvil’s Claro, Entel and Telefónica’s Movistar, the country’s three biggest operators.
Each operator receives a 20MHz block of spectrum in the 2.6GHz band, which is being used to support the rollout of 4G services in many other parts of the world.
Claro paid $2.9 million for its allocation, with Entel coughing up $8.8 million and Movistar just $500,000. VTR and Nextel, Chile’s two other mobile operators, did not take part in the auction, having only recently paid for spectrum in the 1.7–2.1GHz band to support their launch of 3G services.
Subtel, Chile’s communications regulator, has given all three recipients of 4G spectrum just 12 months to deploy their networks across most of Chile. The companies must also connect some 543 isolated areas within the next 24 months.
Each operator is also required to invest a minimum of $230 million in the construction of its network.
Subtel says the spectrum awards will give operators the additional capacity they need to meet rising demand for mobile services. Connections based on 3G technology, which supports the use of advanced data services, doubled to 3 million between the end of 2010 and the end of 2011. In total, there were 22.7 million mobile-phone connections at the end of March.
Operators have been attracted to 4G technology because it can provide much faster connections and handle large quantities of data traffic more efficiently.