HOST

New public policy for convergence and new spectrum allocation models for 5G

  • The Latin American Telecommunications Congress being held this week in Córdoba, Argentina, called for legal certainty about investments in the industry and regional collaboration for industry development.
  • The third day of the Latin American Telecommunications Congress stood out due to the strong institutional presence of Chile, the US, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic and Uruguay, together with top executives from Amazon, América Móvil, AT&T, DirecTV, Ericsson, Facebook, Hispasat, Huawei, Intel, Millicom, Qualcom, Telecom or Telefónica.

 

Córdoba, Argentina. July 4, 2019. Ajit Pai, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission of the US (FCC), was one of the protagonists during the third day of the Latin American Telecommunications Congress. Pai talked about the progress made by the 5G Fast Plan, and highlighted the spectrum release for commercial use (through the auctions of the 24 and 28 GHz bands for 5G), the promotion of the deployment of infrastructure, with measures for small cells not to be subjected to the same regulatory burdens as towers, and the promotion of the deployment of optic fiber with the purpose of having a robust infrastructure that supports the increasing demand. In addition, Pai underscored the importance of regional collaboration by proposing that “we all work together in Citel and the World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC19) towards a bright digital future for all people in the Americas.”

During his participation, Federico Rava, President at Telefónica Argentina, stated that the telecommunications industry is capital-intensive and it drives digital transformation and has an impact on economic development. Manuel Abelleyra, President at DirecTV Latin America, urged attendees to fight against piracy and protect intellectual property. Additionally, Carlos Moltini, CEO at Telecom Argentina, emphasized the importance of public and private collaboration in the design of connectivity-related public policy.

Moreover, Daniel Bernal, Adjunct Director of Regulatory Affairs at América Móvil, pointed out that the key to digitalization was legal security and certainty; accelerating productive transformation in all processes; and using ICTs to provide the less privileged with equal opportunities.

 High spectrum costs lead operators to sacrifice coverage

Another hot topic at the CLT19 had to do with the importance of the spectrum in the process of the digitalization of economy. Pau Castells, Director of Economic Analysis at GSMA Intelligence, gave a preview of a study that analyzes the impact of spectrum costs on coverage, network quality and final prices for users. The data reveals that 4G population coverage in countries with the highest spectrum costs has been 7 percentage points lower compared to other countries.

Pamela Gidi, Undersecretary of Telecommunications in Chile, indicated that, in order to bridge the digital divide in Latin America, particularly in Chile, it is essential to assign spectrum evenhandedly, increasing competition in the telecommunications markets, and placing users at the center of the discussion. “The telecommunications industry can and must be a strategic ally in the design of public policy to achieve the true digitalization of Latin America”, said Lucas Gallitto, Public Policy Director for GSMA Latin America, as a final remark.

Substantial participation from regulatory and government authorities from the region

The third day of the Latin American Telecommunications Congress stood out due to the strong institutional presence of countries across the region. The Minister of Information and Communication Technologies of Paraguay, Alejandro Peralta, admitted that, as a country, they need to work on “the foreign digital divide” to improve the quality of connectivity and increase Internet use by those who are already connected. Ramiro Camacho, Commissioner of the Federal Telecommunications Institute of Mexico (IFT), said that technology will make jobs more productive, but he does not think it will result in job losses. “The State should formulate policy not to preserve traditional jobs, but to foster the creation of new ones,” he added. His colleague, Mario Fromow, pointed out that Mexico is the first country to release the 600 MHz band for 5G. “The Dominican Republic and the ITU are working on a National Policy on Radio Spectrum Management. We want to have a position paper available to the industry to explain the regulator’s view from now up until 2025,” said Nelson Guillén, President of the Dominican Institute of Telecommunications (INDOTEL).

CLT19 Closing Plenary Session

Pablo Bello, Executive Director at ASIET, closed the Plenary Session of the seventh Latin American Telecommunications Congress by stressing that this has become a space considered as a point of reference for Latin America when it comes to multistakeholder discussions.  “We must be able to bridge digital divides so that we can make progress towards equality, face gender inequalities, socioeconomic disparities, and the gap in opportunities between the connected and the unconnected,” he said. “We need a new generation of public policy that fosters necessary investments, with institutions that are trustworthy and give us certainty,” he concluded.