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Sutel Was (Finally) Able To Award Blocks of Radio Spectrum Frequencies

Costa Rica’s Superintendency of Telecommunications, the Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones (Sutel) said it awarded the 70 MHz of spectrum to Mexico’s America Movil (Claro) and Spain’s Telefonica (Movistar).

Both Claro and Movistar currently compete against the state telecom, ICE (Kolbi) for the mobile telephony and internet in the country.

The two companies were the two companies were the only bidders in the auction, which raised US$43 million for seven blocks of spectrum in the 1800MHz and 1900/2100MHz bands.

The US$43 million was the base price fixed by the Sutel.

Eduardo Castellón, press chief at the Sutel, confirmed the start of the auction at 11:00 am, held at the Wyndham Garden hotel in Escazu.

Movistar, for the sum of US$24 million, was awarded two blocks in the 1800 MHz band and two more in the 1900/2100 MHz band while Claro paid US$19 million for three blocks, one 1800 MHz and two 1900/2100 MHz.

Millicom’s Tigo, which provides cable and TV services under the Tigo Star brand in Costa Rica, expressed an interest in bidding for spectrum but finally declined to participate in the much-delayed process.

Yesterday’s auction is a follow up to the opening of the telecommunications market back in 2011, when the Sutel didn’t receive any bids for the blocks auctioned off on Wednesday. Several attempts over the years by the Sutel to auction the blocks did not result in any bids or bids below the base price.

Sutel said it will use the proceeds of the auction to improve coverage in under-served regions.