Colombia Awards 5G Licenses raising $381 mn in 5G Spectrum Auction

Colombia awarded 5G data services licenses to four telecommunications companies in a 5G spectrum auction held on Wednesday.
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The aim behind this initiative is to stimulate investment and position Colombia alongside regional counterparts like Argentina and Mexico, where 5G networks are already operational, Reuters news report said.

The successful bidders in the auction, as announced by the communications ministry, include Claro, Telecall Colombia, WOM, and Union Temporal Colombia Movil-Telefonica — a collaborative effort between the operators of Movistar and Tigo.

The ministry highlighted that the auction surpassed expectations by raising more than 1.5 trillion pesos ($381 million), slightly below the initial government estimate of approximately $500 million for Colombia’s inaugural 5G spectrum auction.

Mauricio Lizcano, the information technology and communications minister, termed the development as “Historic! 5G is a reality for Colombians.” He further announced that the rollout of 5G services is slated to commence in February.

Mauricio Lizcano also projected substantial investments in Colombia’s 5G infrastructure, estimating an expenditure of approximately 28 trillion pesos (around $7.11 billion) over the next decade.

The spectrum allocated in the auction encompassed various frequencies, including 700 megahertz (MHz), 1,900 MHz, 2,500 MHz, and 3,500 MHz, along with others in the extended AWS frequency band ranging from 1,700 MHz to 2,100 MHz.

As of the conclusion of 2022, Colombia boasted around 80 million mobile subscribers, predominantly utilizing contracts with America Movil’s Claro. The telecom landscape also features prominent operators like Colombia Telecomunicaciones, a local unit of Spain’s Telefonica, Colombia Movil’s Tigo, and WOM, owned by Icelandic billionaire Thor Bjorgolfsson.

Brazil’s Telecall is set to make its foray into the Colombian market following its successful participation in Wednesday’s 5G spectrum auction, signaling diversification and competition within Colombia’s telecommunications sector.