SUTEL recommends the government concede cellular bands

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    The Superintendent of Telecommunications (SUTEL) is the entity responsible for regulating telecommunication services and last week they made a technical recommendation to the Executive Branch to concede cellular bands for mobile phones to the private companies Claro and Telefónica.

    The document was issued three days before the deadline and only two days after finding out the economic offers made by both companies.

    George Miley, Chairman of SUTEL, said they now have more staff and this allows them to accelerate the work.

    The Vice Minister of Minaet Telecommications, Hannia Vega, declared that the analysis of the SUTEL report began just yesterday.

    According to Vega, this week the Executive Decree of the award will be ready to be signed by President Laura Chinchilla and the minister of the environment, Energy and Telecommunications, Teofilo de la Torre.

    Although the Executive Branch has 10 days to decide if they’ll choose SUTEL’s criteria, Vega is sure they will be able to do it in less time.

    “We are speeding up the terms, but at the same time trying to guarantee that everything will be complete so that things don’t get worse,” she added.

    The decree about the award should be published in the daily report La Gaceta. Ultimately, a span of 10 days should be granted to receive objections.

    If no one objects to the process, the grant will be confirmed.

    The next step in the process is for companies to solicit the microwave frequencies (they allow communication between radio bases) that they will need to launch their networks.

    For this grant to go into effect, the State will receive $170 million. These resources will go to the National Foundation of Telecommunications (Fontanel) to finance humanitarian projects such as making internet available in colleges and public schools.

    Claro, from Mexican America Movil, will pay $75 million for 35 megahertz (MHz) located betwen bands 1800 and 2100. Meanwhile, the Spanish Telefónica (registered here under the name Azules and Platas S.A.) dispersed $95 million for 30.3 MHz, including 5 MHz of the coveted frequency 850. That band is highly coveted by telephone companies because it requires less investment in infrastructure to cover a geographic area.

    A closer look. According to Vega, from SUTEL’s recommendation, the Viceminister should issue a series of reports to guarantee that the new use of cell bands completes the objectives set for it.

    Among them he cited a report on compliance with public policy. Another on regulation and price (Fonatel), and the one from the concession, that should be considered “to be bulletproof.”

    The opening of the telecommunications was announced in October 2007 through a referendum on the TLC with the United States.

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