Spectrum management in Latin America 

Tuesday 24 Oct 2023 | 1-6 GHz | Bands | Below 1 GHz | CITEL |

5G provides a unique opportunity to boost the economic transformation of Latin America, through the rollout of several use cases that will have an impact on the region’s productivity and ability to improve the wellbeing of its citizens. Effective spectrum management is crucial to unlock the economic benefits of this digital transformation.

In order to make spectrum policy a lever for investment and growth, regulators should consider the following regulatory actions.

1. Spectrum licensing

Sufficient spectrum needs to be made available to the market under conditions that enable investment and innovation in the deployment of new networks and services. The Spectrum Management in Latin America report shows the latest data on spectrum assignments in Latin America and provides an indepth analysis of some recent cases. It also highlights the opportunities and risks associated with upcoming assignments and renewals in the region, including 5G spectrum assignments that will be necessary to support digital transformation in the region.

Robust licensing approaches which prioritise mobile broadband services above revenue maximisation are vital to delivering 5G for all businesses and consumers, creating digital inclusion and lowering the mobile usage gap. Optimal auction design and licence conditions will help 5G flourish and allow it to have the greatest impact on economic growth.

2. Spectrum pricing

An analysis based on GSMA Intelligence global data of 2,300 assignments across 112 countries and more than 300 operators since 2010 shows significant variation in spectrum prices in Latin America, which cannot be explained by market factors.

These resources take a closer look at spectrum pricing policies in Latin America and how they are impacting the delivery of mobile services to consumers and businesses in the region. We have also published country specific reports that underscore how decisions made by governments and regulators can have a negative impact on the quality and cost of mobile broadband services.

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Latin America full report

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Latin America summary

3. Access to mid-band spectrum

Mid-band spectrum is crucial for the successful rollout of 5G. It provides city-wide capacity for enhanced mobile broadband and FWA applications that will deliver access to services from online education to public administration, enable smart cities and drive digital industry. The GSMA has estimated that on average, a total of 2 GHz of mid-band spectrum will be required per market to support the growth of 5G by 2030. To realise the potential benefits, countries across Americas must fulfil mid-band needs in harmonised ranges including 3.5 GHz and 6 GHz to deliver economies of scale and lower broadband costs.

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Mid-band spectrum needs

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Socio-economic benefits of mid-band

4. Low-band spectrum

Low-band spectrum is the cornerstone of digital equality and a driver of broad and affordable connectivity, reducing the gap between urban and rural areas and delivering affordable connectivity. Without sufficient low-band spectrum, the digital divide is likely to widen, and those living in rural areas will be excluded from the latest digital technologies.

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Socio-economic benefits of low bands

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Low-band spectrum vision