|Wednesday, 22 July 2009|
Two new companies will be joining the Chilean mobile phone market by mid-2010, despite an indecisive conclusion to a recent auction of space on the Chilean wireless spectrum.
The two U.S. companies, VTR and Nextel PCS, offered almost identical bids for three blocks of 30 megahertz each, enough to give them both a presence on Chilean airwaves. The SubsecretarÃa de Telecomunicaciones, or SUBTEL, the Chilean regulator, will review the results over the next 60 days before holding a closed bid auction.
VTR, owned by Englewood, Coloradoâ€™s Liberty Global Inc., already offers broadband and cable television in Chile. Nextel, a division of Sprint, based in Overland Park, Kansas, operates several radio frequencies in Chile.
The two companies will be entering a market with three competing companies, primarily Movistar (43.2 percent market share), Entel (37.7 percent) and Claro (18.9 percent). Movistar is owned by Spainâ€™s Telefonica, while Claro is a subsidy of Mexicoâ€™s AmÃ©rica MÃ³vil. Entel is based in Chile. The three companies did not bid in the auction, as each is either close or already at the Supreme Court-imposed limit of 60 megahertz.
The Chilean mobile market has been a popular one, with almost 16 millions subscribers, roughly 96.5 percent of the country. Some analysts expect the new competition to push future rate prices down.
SOURCES: LA TERCERA, LA NACIÃ“N, EL MERCURIO, WALL STREET JOURNAL, CELLULAR NEWS, REUTERS,
By Daniel Zarchy ( firstname.lastname@example.org)