4G Network Auction: Battle in Guatemala

After a resolution was issued for the reorganization of the 700 MHz band, Telecomunicaciones de Guatemala S.A. and the Human Rights Ombudsman's Office submitted appeals for revocation to the Superintendence of Telecommunications.

Friday, January 8, 2021

The controversy originated after Comunicaciones Celulares S.A. bought from Albavision in 2019 the usufruct titles that are immersed in the 700Mhz band. This transaction was made in the secondary market.

The titles sold by Albavision belonged to a television channel; however, Comunicaciones Celulares S.A., operates the acquired assets with mobile telephony services, something that is not possible, according to José Monterrosa Menzel, former superintendent of telecommunications, who was dismissed days before the controversial resolution dated December 30, 2020.

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Marco Antonio Baten Ruiz, who replaced Monterrosa Menzel as head of the Superintendence of Telecommunications (SIT), told Prensalibre.com that "... a resolution was issued to reorganize the 700 MHz band, and a company is being respected for the rights acquired in a secondary market. The resolution respects 30 Mhz of usufruct titles that were already held, which was 36 Mhz, but to be able to make an auction later and efficiently, it was reduced to 30 Mhz, in order to be able to auction."

Regarding the auction process of the 4G network in the country, Monterrosa explained that "... in order to work with 4G, the 700 MHz band has to be reordered, which consists of cleaning it completely in order to put it up for auction, and the resolution that the new superintendent issued is a 60 MHz block, and that the rights of the usufructuaries who are there are recognized. In the titles granted by the SIT, there is nothing that states that a telephone operator has rights within that band."

After the resolution was known, on January 6, the company Telecomunicaciones de Guatemala S.A. (with the commercial name of Claro) and the Human Rights Ombudsman (PDH), presented revocation resources to the SIT. It is expected that in the next few days both files will be analyzed by the legal area of the Ministry of Communications, Infrastructure and Housing (CIV).

Baten Ruiz confirmed that the appeals presented by Claro and the PDH have been processed.

See articles in Prensalibre.com "How a sale between two companies stirred up the auction for the 4G network in Guatemala" and "Two resources intersect in the process of auctioning the 4G network".

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