Developed countries such as the United States have 95% mobile internet coverage, while in Colombia only 52% of the country has access to this service, according to Sergio Gonzáles Guzmán, president of ETB. Although the internet was declared a public service, the digital divide is still huge; Gonzáles believes that this gap can be solved with fractional licenses for the 5G network, as he argued at the international ICT congress, Andicom.
The auctions for mobile connection spectrum work like any other auction. When a new generation of mobile telephony technologies is available, a contest is opened in Colombia in which interested companies participate, MinTic evaluates the proposals and chooses a winner. But, in the same way, the auction of that available spectrum at the national level has a high cost. According to Gonzáles, the cost of deploying the 5G network is disproportionate, since it is 1.5 times the value of existing networks, added to the cost of the tender.
But, if a divided bidding was done by departments, it would be much cheaper for the operators and thus, perhaps everyone can enter to participate in the bidding. In addition, the president of ETB explains that 5G technology is not yet necessary in many corners of the country since 4G connectivity has not even arrived.
It may interest you: 18% of Colombians still navigate on 2G and 3G
“The traditional model of national spectrum auctions has already shown that it is not efficient, therefore, the scheme must be different to guarantee the plurality of bidders. For example, of the six operators that participated almost 10 years ago in the 4G auction, only three remain; In addition, 18% of users in Colombia browse on 2G and 3G”, said Gonzáles.
Finally, he explained that 25% of the gap in Colombia is concentrated in 2% of the municipalities, especially in stratum 1, 2 and 3 households, who do not have the economic resources to access the service. Given this, the ETB representative proposed subsidies to these families or a series of royalties that encourage operators to deploy 5G zones.