Peru plans to launch a tender for spectrum frequencies for 5G technology during the first half of next year, according to deputy communications minister Virginia Nakagawa (pictured).

Speaking at a virtual event on Peru’s agenda for the development of 5G technologies promoted by the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP), Nakagawa said that before the end of 2020 the government should launch a public consultation on the channeling and use of the bands identified to implement the technology.

After that, in the first half of next year Peru’s investment promotion agency ProInversión is expected to release the final tender terms and carry out the tender itself.

This is the first time that Peru has committed to a roadmap for its 5G tender.

The country is considering awarding 5G frequencies in the 3.3Ghz-3.8Ghz range (3.5Ghz band) and the 24.2GHZ-25.5GHZ range (26GHz band).

The 3.5GHz band has been standardized by telecom bodies such as 3GPP and ITU for mobile broadband and is considered the prime spectrum for 5G deployments.

According to Nakagawa, with 300Mhz for use, Peru is the country that has the most spectrum available in this band, in addition to another 200Mhz that has already been made available to telecom operators in small blocks of 3.5Ghz spectrum.

One challenge is that this spectrum is fragmented, meaning that the available blocks of spectrum to be awarded in 3.5GHz are not contiguous, said Nakagawa. The international mobile standardization bodies recommend a minimum 100MHz of spectrum for adequate 5G operation.

“Therefore, the tender must also come up with a system for reorganizing channels. With that, if a carrier who already has, say 50Mhz in a given 3.5GHz channel and wins another 50Mhz in another part of the spectrum, the contest would have to unite 100Mhz of contiguous spectrum,” Nakagawa said.

Taking into consideration this complex channelling process and the time provided for effective use of the spectrum assigned, the minister estimates that 5G will only become a reality for users in Peru “in 2022 or 2023.”