The legal obstacles that are preventing the Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones of Guatemala from tendering the AWS frequency may not be solved in the short term.
The Telecommunications Authority has announced that by June it plans to issue tenders for a part of the radio spectrum, specifically for private communication frequencies and UHF links. But the most anticipated auction for the three local operators, the AWS frequency, still hasn't made any progress since 2015 due to the 16 appeals processes that have not yet been resolved.
The application of tax of $0.65 per mobile phone line that had been proposed by the Executive to fund part of the 2015 budget has been temporarily suspended.
The Constitutional Court temporarily suspended the collection of the tax on telephone lines after the Chamber of Industry and the three phone companies operating in the country submitted an appeal against the tax.
In response to approval of a new tax of $0.65 per telephone line, operating companies have returned 6 million lines to the Telecommunications Superintendency.
Representatives from Claro, Tigo and Telefónica each returned 2 million inactive numbers with the aim of adjusting their internal policies to adapt to the new tax which will come into effect next year. The chief of the Tax Collection Authority, Omar Franco, assured Elperiodico.com.gt that "... Companies will have to make the necessary adjustments in order to estimate how much income will be as a result of the new tax. We did not know that this tax would end up being approved in the 2015 Budget. Congress considered and approved a levy based on the 23 million lines assigned, now that this figure has been reduced it will have to be re-estimated. "
95% of the 21 million handsets registered as operational in July 2013 are prepaid.
The data was released by the Superintendency of Telecommunications (SIT). "Of every 10 active phones, nine are prepaid and only one uses a payment plan by the company providing the service," reported Prensalibre.com.
In Guatemala and proposals arising from the recently passed amendment to the Communications Act, which extended radio concessions for 20 years.
In light of the act coming into effect, deputies in the Transparency Commission are preparing a bill relating to the issue of transparency, Deputy Carlos Barreda, a member of the panel, said "We must establish that the usufruct be delivered through an auction or implement a public payment for its renewal. "
The extension for another 20 years, without any fees, of the concessions for radio frequencies, will deprive the Guatemalan State of millions in income, and removes market transparency.
While in other countries concessions for the use of radio frequencies provide state coffers with many millions of dollars, in Guatemala, Congress has passed legislation extending licenses that are currently in effect for another 20 years, without any costs to the concessionaries, who in addition at the end of the period of usufruct, may renew them again.
Of the total numbers assigned, 26 million, 22.7 million are mobiles and only 3.3 million landlines.
At the end of the first half of 2011 there were 20.2 million registered numbers. Up until the end of August 2012, the Superintendency of Telecommunications (SIT) had delivered 26.03 million, 5.83 million in just over a year.
From 3.1 million lines in 2004, mobile telephony in Guatemala has increased sevenfold, amounting to to 20.7 million lines at the end of 2011.
In the second half of 2011, more than two million new users were added to the market, making the number of users around the country at the end of December 2011 20.7 million, according to the Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones (SIT).
Growth rates are lower, and statistics show that there are 132 cell lines per 100 inhabitants, a fact that is leading phone companies to adopt new strategies for growth.
The growth rate of mobile telephony in Guatemala decreased from 2.5 million lines per year in 2005 to only about 460 thousand in 2010, a sign of market maturity. Today, Guatemala has 132 mobile phone lines per 100 inhabitants. In other words, there are more phones than the entire population.
The company Telefonica and the Movistar brand have launched commercial HSPA+ hardware in the country.
Salvador Montes de Oca, director of Marketing and Advertising at Movistar Guatemala told the media that HSPA + technology offers download speeds of up to 21 data megabits per second (Mbps) and 5.7 Mbps for sending information.
The increase in the number of mobile phone line users during the first half of 2011 was almost half a million.
As of 30 June, the total number of lines stood at 18,528,667, an increase of 5.7% compared to the same period in 2010, according to preliminary information from the Superintendency of Telecommunications (SIT).
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