Plans for Colombian operators Tigo and Movistar to move towards unifying their networks have been approved by Colombian business regulator the Superintendencia de Industria y Comercio (SIC).
Tigo and Movistar have been authorised to share their network infrastructure, as well as radio spectrum, because SIC apparently feels that the partnership will not affect the wholesale and retail telecommunications markets, as both companies will continue to participate independently in those markets.
This follows June’s memorandum of understanding (MoU), reported here, which proposed that the two companies should pursue a network sharing arrangement via a jointly owned infrastructure company.
The timing of this alliance may be an important factor: the Colombian government has announced that a 5G spectrum auction is to be held on 20 December.
The SIC has, however, only authorized a temporary tie-up between Movistar and Tigo. The companies are expected to stop sharing infrastructure in July 2025. Each of the companies will have a 50% stake in the partnership and both will be required to release a portion of spectrum once sharing starts.
There’s no shortage of conditions attached to this approval. However, it seems that both Tigo and Movistar feel it is worth taking these on if it means expanding coverage and improving QoS affordably.
This is especially important for Tigo, which has serious financial issues to deal with. As we reported at the time, Colombia’s Ministry of ICT held a crisis meeting not long ago to manage Tigo Colombia’s financial woes in a bid to prevent the operator from ceasing mobile service.