MWC 2020, Barcelona, 24-27 February
Thursday, July 18, 2019

Very rare things still happen with 450 MHz spectrum

The bands that were for SMEs to provide local connectivity in regions of the interior of the country were overvalued with the sudden, surprising and unintelligible appearance of Arsat as dominant bidder. The state company offered for items throughout the national territory (each includes several locations) for figures above US$23,500. In half of its presentations it offered almost US$47,000 against an average of US$1,180 offered by SMEs for the same items.

What is the price really? Who defined the values ??offered by Arsat with the public money? Does Arsat have a business plan that will make it repay this investment? Those are some of the questions asked yesterday by the executives of SMEs who attended the opening of envelopes in Enacom.

The onslaught of Arsat can be understood with an example. In the call for the NOA, NEA and Centro zone, over about 130 items the state company participated in 116.

The oddities with the 450 MHz band have a history. At the beginning of the tender process, at the beginning of this year, aroused interest in SMEs - original recipient of this spectrum - but there were not many participants on the first occasion. A handful of companies were presented and one of them, Servicio Satelital, was awarded directly because there were no other competitors, more than 200 locations.

Two weeks ago, Enacom took them for non-compliance with requirements, according to the agency.

It is curious that by virtue of a decree, the spectrum that Arsat had by virtue of a law is taken away and now the state company goes out to buy at crazy prices - according to market parameters - and with money from the Universal Service Fund, a band that does work for LTE, for example, although there is not much equipment for its exploitation.

Other oddities occurred between the end of June and the beginning of last July. First the call for tenders was made with short deadlines, which are tortuous for SMEs. Then, the date for submitting the proposals was extended. And immediately, on July 4, the president of Enacom changed the effects of that postponement and abruptly terminated the call. Part of this history is in Resolution 2547/19. The other starts now.

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