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Argentina's Government To Auction Wireless Licenses 2H11

By Ken Parks OF DOW JONES NEWSWIRES BUENOS AIRES -(Dow Jones)- Argentina's federal government on Wednesday said it will auction wireless licenses during the second half of this year as mobile operators start to bump up against capacity constraints due to voracious demand for wireless data services. In a resolution published in the Official Bulletin, the Communications Secretariat said bidding rules will be available for purchase starting next week. Argentina is offering 5MHz and 10MHz blocks of radio spectrum in the 1890MHz-1985MHz band as well as a 7.5MHz block in the 830MHz-879MHz band. The Secretariat has set the minimum bidding price at between US$600,000 and $6 million per MHZ depending on the geographic region and spectrum band. Bidders must post a guarantee of $1.2 million and have a minimum capitalization of $100 million. Auction winners will have to provide total wireless coverage in their concession areas 5 years after receiving the licenses. Argentina's wireless industry boasts one of the highest penetration rates in Latin America and Argentine consumers are avid users of spectrum-intensive services like mobile broadband. The industry is divided up between subsidiaries of Spain's Telefonica SA (TEF), Telecom Italia SpA (TI), Mexico's America Movil SAB (AMX), and NII Holdings Inc (NIHD). -By Ken Parks, Dow Jones Newswires; 54-11-4103-6740, ken.parks@dowjones.com

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