The Costa Rican telecom regulator Sutel has recommended that the country’s science, technology and telecommunications ministry MICITT should start the tender to award spectrum for 5G networks. This follows a feasibility study and a public consultation.
However, as the BNamericas website points out, there are still a few issues that need to be resolved. They include recovery of unused and underutilized spectrum in the 2600MHz and 3500MHz bands and the fact that only the state-owned company – Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) – currently has spectrum for 5G networks.
A new tender should help to sort that problem out at least, providing 2600MHz band is not excluded; Sutel feels that if 2600MHz is excluded, it will not be possible to take advantage of the economies of scale of the technology.
However, the report indicates that there is sufficient spectrum for each mobile operator in the market to have enough in high and low bands to allow them to deploy 5G networks, though some players estimate that more will eventually be needed.
All three operators – Liberty, Claro and ICE – have reportedly shown interest in acquiring new spectrum for mobile services in the country. APM Terminals, ICE and Liberty are also interested in implementing private mobile networks, as are a number of cooperatives.
ICE may also pursue the development of a national emergency network in the 700MHz band and private networks for monitoring, operation and measurement of its power grid (ICE is Costa Rica’s government-run electricity provider as well as a telecommunications services provider).
Companies that provide mobile services, cooperatives, satellite companies and international organizations all participated in Sutel's public consultation. Now, one assumes, it’s up to MICITT to make the next move.