In April, Colombia’s Ministry of Information and Communications Technology and the National Spectrum Agency have set the path for 5G adoption, in order to become the first country in Latin America to adopt it.
The public document issued by the National Spectrum Agency, regarding the frequency bands for 5G adoption as the country is planning to shut down 2G services, attempts to bring together different actors in order to build a solid roadmap to adopt 5G in Colombia. Some of the questions included in the document open to commentaries seek to establish which frequency bands should be prioritized, what the incentives to facilitate the adequate adoption of 5G should be and what the impact of adopting 5G technology in Colombia is likely to be.
Connectivity is one of the main objectives of the current government, MinICT recently opened the public auction of 700 MHz and 1900 MHz spectrum frequencies. The national government has expressed its interest in promoting the assignment of 700 MHz band, particularly, in order to more easily achieve wider coverage and bring quality connectivity to rural areas. This is the first step towards the adoption of 5G networks in Colombia as the spectrum capacity may help 5G development in the future. The bidding on these frequencies has been suspended since 2014.
Through a new telecommunications bill, the government intends to extend the duration of spectrum licenses from 10 to 20 years and to create the necessary conditions to address the connectivity issues for the most remote municipalities of the country.
We should take advantage of this incredible investment opportunity that has presented itself in Colombia because it reflects the country’s technological growth. Despite 5G not having been deployed yet, some companies are already working on trials of 5G technology. Huawei joined with TIGO to run an “indoors” trial, which achieved the spectral efficiency of 32 Mbps per Mhz. Nokia also partnered with Claro to conduct a separate trial which resulted in boosting internet connectivity tenfold.
We encourage the entire CMS community to consider the possibility of being a part of this public bidding and the construction of the draft documents which must likely result in an increased economical involvement in the country.