Assignment and Use of Radio Spectrum – Policy Guidelines and Economic Aspects


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This study seeks to provide guidelines on policy and economic aspects in relation to assignment and use of the radio-frequency spectrum so as to place NRAs, decision-makers and telecommunication/ICT service operators in a position to make efficient and optimal use of the spectrum, endeavouring to extract maximum benefit from the spectrum in the short and long term while maintaining the necessary balance with other key factors (e.g. coverage obligations, secondary market, etc.). It also seeks to provide an economic assessment of the impact that the conditions and price in a frequency auction exert on the provision of services.




The spectrum is a natural, non-renewable and scarce resource whose use therefore entails an opportunity cost. Although it is often thought that spectrum scarcity might be less critical in some countries of Latin America, in many instances telecommunication operators are asking for more efficient spectrum assignment processes that would afford them more bandwidth to accommodate growing traffic needs. Moreover, national regulatory authorities (NRAs) responsible for managing the spectrum have to strike a balance between licensing and the costs thereof with other key factors such as associated coverage obligations (to help reduce the digital divide) and spectrum caps (to safeguard competition by avoiding spectrum monopolies). These different perspectives underline the need to manage the radio-frequency spectrum, so as to maximize technical efficiency, economic gains and social impact.


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