Peru to allow Carlos Slim's América Móvil to offer mobile services with 5G technology

Peru pledged to launch, still in March, a 3.5 GHz frequency auction for 5G

Carlos Slim during the swearing of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador as New President of Mexico
Carlos Slim during the swearing of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador as new President of Mexico. Photo: Carlos Tischler/ Shutterstock

Peru has allowed telecommunications group América Móvil, from Mexican businessman Carlos Slim to offer mobile and fixed wireless services from the 3.5 GHz band, through WiMAX, LTE and 5G technologies, Mexican newspaper El Economista first reported.

América Móvil, in addition to the Chilean Entel, can operate its 3.5 GHz section as of this Tuesday in the Peruvian provinces of Arequipa, Ica, Lambayeque, La Libertad, Callao and the capital Lima, which together account for 81% of the country’s population.

The government’s strategy with this action is to support the country’s productive processes, in a combination of 5G-Internet of Things (IoT) technologies and support to health, education and social care applications for the most vulnerable in those regions.

READ ALSO: Brazil regulator approves 5G spectrum auction rules, no Huawei ban

The country’s regulator bodies approved América Móvil, through its commercial brand Claro, to exploit the bands of 3450-3475 MHz and 3550-3575 MHz, while Peru’s Ministry of Transport and Communications (MTC) set the details for a new auction to deliver more frequencies to the industry. The country’s regulators are also rearranging the band for better exploiting the 5G technology and others.

Peru forecasts that rearranging the 3.5 GHz frequencies for 5G usage and together with other bands, could generate in the mid-term an investment of 5 billion soles, around US$ 1.37 billion, while the entire 5G ecosystem could represent 1% of the Peruvian GDP by 2030.

“The technical features of the 3.5 GHz band, which companies had for years for fixed wireless only, have been modified and now they can exploit it for mobile and 4G LTE and 5G. The issue is that the features for 5G have also been expanded, but each company has 50 MHz and the frequencies are not arranged. 80 to 100 MHz would be required to take better advantage of the 5G,” said Peru’s former vice-minister of Communications, Virginia Nakagawa Morales.

“But it is a step forward, while the auction comes out, it will be essential that Proinversión (Peru’s Private Investment Promotion Agency) executes it without delay and that there are coverage commitments. The MTC must have that look,” she added.

READ ALSO: Chile’s antitrust regulator rejects Movistar’s request to suspend 5G auction

Peru pledged to launch, still in March, an auction of 3.5 GHz frequencies and with millimeter signal packages in the 26 GHz band, also for 5G.

By allowing Carlos Slim’s América Móvil and Entel, Peru thus becomes one of the first nations in America to let operators exploit this band in the commercial way that best suits their business.

Mexico, for instance, only allows companies to exploit fixed wireless and internet from this spectrum. Brazil, which is expected to have the rules for the 5G auction by June, have costly conditions such as requiring telecom companies to migrate by next year to more advanced technology with stand-alone networks not based on their current technology.

READ ALSO: Brazil’s Anatel forecasts up to BRL 35 billion in investment with 5G auction

Two of Brazil’s main telcos, Telefonica Brasil and Claro, owned by Mexico‘s America Móvil, are pressing for a 5-year transition to the more advanced stand-alone networks.

“The stand-alone condition requires changing the core of today’s networks and will set us back years,” said Vivien Suruagy, head of Feninfra, a lobby representing 137,000 companies that build and maintain telecommunications networks.

Get the best insights about Latin America market in your inbox