Mobile industry association GSMA Latin America has raised concerns over the terms of Argentina’s planned 5G spectrum auction, observing that the proposed tender ‘is contrary to best international practices in spectrum allocation and puts the future of 5G in the country at risk’. According to a report by BNamericas, the GSMA stated: ‘The price set in Argentina is very high in relation to the economic situation of the country and the revenues of the industry … The reservation of free spectrum for [state-owned telco] ARSAT compromises the future availability of the resource. This adds to an existing situation of artificial scarcity. Argentina has 210MHz of spectrum available to assign. Unused spectrum is a missed opportunity to connect more users with greater speeds.’

On 28 August the National Communications Agency (Ente Nacional de Comunicaciones, ENACOM) approved the conditions for a long-awaited 5G spectrum auction encompassing the 3300MHz-3600MHz frequency band. A 300MHz tranche of spectrum will be auctioned in three 100MHz TDD blocks, each with a base bidding price of USD350 million, under licences permitting both mobile and fixed 5G network services. Qualifying applicants must submit bids by 29 September 2023. Somewhat controversially, the government has reserved spectrum in the 3600MHz-3700MHz band for ARSAT with a view to enabling 5G use in the public sector and via cooperatives and SMEs.

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