The auction for the 5G network continues to generate controversy, this time within the same Communication Services Regulatory Unit (Ursec)whose complaints are added to those of the companies interested in offering this service in Uruguay.
According to the director of Ursec for the Broad Front (FA), Paul Siristhe process carried out by the government is, in reality, “a mock auction”. One of the reasons he mentions is the base price that, while in auctions of similar characteristics they started at almost 50 million dollars, in the draft of the specifications that was released a few weeks ago, only 28 million dollars were mentioned.
He mechanism for determining this price raises doubts, since the good practices and general mechanisms for the valuation of radio spectrum are explicit in the International Telecommunication Union. In these guides for the valuation of radio spectrum there are clear and transparent mechanisms, and Ursec opted for a “dark mechanism”, in which the values that are taken as a reference to arrive at the price are not clarified, Siris alleged.
Although he explains that the document takes as an example the case of Brazil, It also clarifies that the level of infrastructure in both countries is different, and that the Brazilian case included investment promises that are not in the Uruguayan proposal. In this sense, the comparison is absurd.
Likewise, Siris considers that the “supposed public hearing” was not such, it was an informal chat, and that the “public consultation” was not such, because the operators’ queries were not answered, he continued. For the Frente Amplio director of Ursec, this has the additional seriousness that the auction “it is going to condition our country for a good amount of time” in terms of the importance that technology has for everyday life.
Added to low investment commitments and the requirement of minimum deployments of infrastructure and quality of antennas, the next 25 years of 5G technology do not seem very hopeful for Siris. In addition, the director points out, it is a condition that the deployment be in 4G or 5G and that it be in any band for mobile telecommunications services. In other words, the bands that are being auctioned do not have to be put into use as long as the 5G service is provided and the basic operating conditions.
As reported by the weekly Search, the draft of the document was approved by the Ursec legal department, but not by the Hector Budémember of Ursec General Committee since 2011 and technical reference of the institution.
Complaints from telecommunications companies
The telecommunications companies involved in the auction have also submitted comments regarding the specifications that were presented to them.
About, 5G Americas requested a change in the draft of the specifications, asking the State to “consider offering at least one block of additional spectrum”, a concern shared not only by most other companies, but also widely agreed among experts in the sector, who clarify that the auction of various spectrums is important, since they have different functions for the public. Therefore, the State should auction more blocks to provide a full 5G service.
For his part, Dedicated requested to modify the specifications and declared that the requirements imposed by Ursec when participating in the auction “were not imposed at the time that Clear and Movistar entered the system, they are not necessary and their sole purpose is to prevent Dedicado from participating in the auction”. The company bases this position, among other things, on the fact that the specifications request the IMT technology (international mobile service) to be able to participate, a service that the company requested from the government but for which it has not yet received a response.
Meanwhile, the Executive power granted ten more days to the companies that are considering participating in the process to make their “last statements” regarding the specifications and estimates that the auction will take place at the end of April.