Argentinean court demands changes to 5G auction terms as Claro doubles down

Argentinean court demands changes to 5G auction terms as Claro doubles down

A Federal Court in Argentina has issued several directives to the country’s regulator ENACOM relating to its upcoming 5G spectrum auction, just days ahead of the deadline for bids.

On 28th August 2023, ENACOM cleared the terms and conditions for an auction of 5G spectrum in the 3300MHz-3600MHz frequency band, with the deadline for bids set for 29th September 2023. Under the terms, three 100MHz TDD blocks will be made available at a reserve price of US$350 million, with licences permitting both fixed and mobile 5G services.

Almost immediately following this announcement, Argentina’s three main operators – Claro, Telecom Argentina and Movistar – expressed concerns over the high reserve price, as well as decrying ENACOM’s decision to allocate 100MHz of 3.5GHz spectrum to state-owned ARSAT.

CommsUpdate reports that on 21st September, the Federal Court No. 2 of Mendoza issued a precautionary order to ENACOM, demanding that it suspend several articles of the auction’s terms. The order was lodged on behalf of Infraestructura Digital Argentina (IDA), an industry body that counts Telefonica Argentina among its members. The court also queried the allocation of spectrum to ARSAT, asking ENACOM to submit a report on the “public interest compromised by the precautionary request” ahead of the auction.

Despite these eleventh-hour interventions, other operators are evidently expecting the bidding to go ahead, with Claro Argentina formally registering its interest in the auction complete with US$20 million upfront guarantee to secure its place in the auction.

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