Chile’s WOM wins second spectrum holding at tiebreaker auction

Chile’s WOM wins second spectrum holding at tiebreaker auction

Chile’s WOM has won its second tiebreaker auction to procure the country’s sole available AWS spectrum licence.

The country’s regulator Subtel (Subsecretaria de Telecomunicaciones) confirmed that the operator had bid around CLP16.26 billion (US$22.4 million) for the licence, which will grant it access to 2×15MHz blocks in the 1755MHz-1770MHz/2155MHz-2170MHz range.

According to local news outlet TeleSemana, WOM’s bid was significantly larger that those of rivals Claro Chile and Borealnet, which respectively offered bid CLP1.10 billion and CLP2.5 million for the licence.

Borealnet is looking to break into the market, although the size of its bid raises questions over its available funds. Earlier this week, it lost out to WOM in the previous tiebreaker auction for the available 2×10MHz holding of 700MHz spectrum.

Subtel confirmed that compared to 2009’s original AWS tender, the amount raised for the state by the new auction has increased by more than 300% on a per MHz basis. WOM’s bid includes a coverage obligation of 90%, although as noted by TeleGeography, the bands in which the operator has procured spectrum may be used for LTE-A Pro technologies as well as 5G, unlike the 5G-exclusive 3500MHz and 26GHz frequencies.

The tender process for 5G-capable frequency ranges – including the 700MHz, AWS, 3500MHz and 26GHz bands – began last year, with Subtel announcing last month that five companies had registered their interest in bidding for the various holdings available.

While there was enough 26GHz spectrum available to satisfy the requests of all three bidders, the other bands received a number of bids that exceeded the number of available licences. Since the initial technical submissions were closely matched, it was decided that tiebreaker auctions should be held for each band, with the 150MHz of available spectrum in the 3500MHz band up for auction next week.

Minister of Transport and Telecommunications Gloria Hutt noted: “The interest we are seeing in the tiebreaking bids of the 5G Public Contest is relevant, which speaks of the great attraction of the Chilean telecommunications sector. The enthusiasm that the companies have shown will undoubtedly translate into connectivity benefits for all users in the country once the new network is implemented.”

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