Claro bids $11.2M to pick up additional wireless licenses

Written by  //  July 30, 2011  //  Telecommunications/Technology  //  No comments

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Claro, the island's largest telephone service provider, recently participated in an FCC wireless license auction. (Credit: © Mauricio Pascual)

Puerto Rico’s wireless industry is one of the most competitive in the region, but still has opportunity for growth. That said, carriers seem to be on an ongoing quest to do all they can to stay one step ahead of the game.

This week, Claro bid close to $11.2 million for six wireless licenses auctioned off by the Federal Communications Commission, which it could use to improve or expand its mobile services, News is my Business learned Friday.

The carrier was one of 19 qualified bidders that competed for the 700 megahertz spectrum licenses that have become available to wireless carriers as part of the FCC’s efforts to free up additional spectrum for mobile broadband.

The licenses cover areas outside the San Juan metropolitan area, specifically Ponce, Mayagüez, Arecibo, Aguadilla, Adjuntas and Ciales, according to the FCC’s results.

The local carrier’s bid represents the lion’s share of the close to $20 million the FCC raised through the latest round of bidding. Verizon and AT&T Mobility took the bulk of the licenses to continue building out their stateside Long Term Evolution (LTE) digital platforms, the FCC said.

News is my Business was unable to contact Claro officials late Friday. As a result, it remained unclear the use the carrier will give to the licenses for which it must pay the FCC by Aug. 25.

Puerto Rico’s wireless penetration rate is currently at about 78 percent, with more than 3.8 million active lines, Telecommunications Regulatory Board statistics show. Claro competes head-on with AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint Nextel and Open Mobile.

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