Colombia Leaps into the Future with 5G As Four Telecom Giants Win Big

In a strategic move to boost its digital infrastructure, Colombia awarded 5G service contracts to four leading telecom firms. This significant leap positions Colombia alongside Latin American nations like Argentina and Mexico in the 5G race.

Mauricio Lizcano

12/20/2023.- The Minister of Information and Communications Technologies Mauricio Lizcano begins the 5G auction today, in Bogotá (Colombia). EFE/ Mauricio Dueñas Castañeda

The Latin American Post Staff

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Leer en español: Colombia hacia el futuro con 5G mientras cuatro gigantes de las telecomunicaciones ganan a lo grande

Colombia's 5G Triumph: Auctioning the Future

Colombia, stepping boldly into the future of telecommunications, has announced the winners of its much-anticipated fifth-generation (5G) data services auction. In a competitive bid that drew attention from major players in the telecom industry, Claro, Telecall Colombia S.A.S., W.O.M., and Union Temporal Colombia Movil-Telefonica emerged victorious. This development marks a significant step for Colombia, aligning it with regional counterparts such as Argentina and Mexico, where 5G technology is already reshaping the digital landscape.

The announcement by Colombia's Ministry of Communications highlights the successful bidders in an auction that aims to catalyze investment and spur technological advancement across the country. The auction winners include a partnership between Movistar (TEF.MC) and Tigo (MICC.F), two of the region's telecom powerhouses. These firms now hold the critical concessions up for grabs, setting the stage for a transformative rollout of 5G services in Colombia.

Notable Financial Impact

The financial impact of the auction is notable, with the Ministry disclosing that the event garnered over 1.5 trillion Colombian pesos (approximately $381 million). While this figure falls short of the initial government projection of $500 million, it signifies a substantial influx of funds into the country's telecom sector. Mauricio Lizcano, Colombia's Minister of Information Technology and Communications, expressed enthusiasm about the development, stating, "Historic! 5G is a reality for Colombians." He further announced that the implementation of 5G services is set to commence in February of the following year.

Lizcano also shed light on the expected investment trajectory for Colombia's 5G network. Over the next decade, the nation anticipates an investment of around 28 trillion pesos (close to $7.11 billion). This substantial financial commitment underscores the government's dedication to advancing Colombia's digital infrastructure and enhancing connectivity for its citizens.

The frequencies auctioned were diverse, ranging from 700 megahertz (MHz) to 3,500 MHz, including extended A.W.S. band frequencies between 1,700 MHz and 2,100 MHz. This spectrum allocation is critical for delivering high-speed, reliable 5G services, which promise to revolutionize various sectors, from healthcare to education and beyond.

Diverse Telecom Landscape

As of the close of 2022, Colombia boasted approximately 80 million mobile subscribers, predominantly under contracts with America Movil's Claro, a leading telecom provider in the region. Other significant operators in the Colombian market include Colombia Telecomunicaciones, a local unit of Spain's Telefonica, Colombia Movil's Tigo, and W.O.M., owned by Icelandic business magnate Thor Bjorgolfsson. The auction also saw the entry of Brazil's Telecall into the Colombian market, signaling a growing interest from international players in the region's burgeoning digital economy.

The successful execution of the 5G auction represents a landmark achievement for Colombia. It brings the country to the forefront of the 5G revolution in Latin America and sets a precedent for future technological advancements. The move is expected to create a ripple effect, spurring innovation, attracting foreign investment, and enhancing the quality of life for Colombians through improved connectivity and access to cutting-edge digital services.

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The implications are far-reaching as Colombia gears up for the rollout of 5G services. From urban centers to remote areas, the introduction of 5G is poised to bridge digital divides, foster economic growth, and propel the nation into a new era of technological prowess. With the government and telecom giants joining forces, the future of Colombia's digital landscape looks bright, heralding a new chapter of connectivity, innovation, and progress.

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