Chilean mobile operator Movistar, owned by Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica, has selected Nokia to provide its AirScale portfolio to launch the operator’s 5G network in Chile.

In addition, Nokia will upgrade Movistar’s 4G and “4G+” networks to strengthen the critical network backbone across Chile’s key markets.

The upgraded network, which will operate across Movistar’s recently won spectrum in Chile’s 5G auction in the 3.5 GHz band, will leverage Nokia’s AirScale Radio Access portfolio to deliver ultra-low latency, and high capacity, for residential consumers and small to medium-sized business. Nokia’s AirScale portfolio can be upgraded from 4G/LTE to 5G/NR via a software-based upgrade, the Finnish vendor said.

Nokia also noted that the 5G network will offer Movistar’s business customers access to 5G use cases, including support for Industry 4.0, public sector and health innovations, and private wireless.

Antonio Bueno, head of technology at Movistar Chile, said: “We believe that 5G will bring enormous potential to the country, both for people and for the vertical sectors. It is in this last area where the fifth generation will also be able to make the Connected Industry and the Internet of Things (IoT) a reality, thanks to its low latency, high speeds, and the ability to connect thousands of devices. From our company, and together with Nokia, we will continue to accelerate the developments and innovations that Chile needs, also adding universities, startups, entrepreneurs, and other actors in the economy.”

Osvaldo Di Campli, head of Latin America at Nokia, said: “Latin America has a diverse mix of emerging markets and more established economies, yet this melting pot of business and consumer potential has so far not been able to experience the benefits of 5G. Chile epitomizes the region’s hunger for growth and innovation, so we are excited to work with Telefónica on its 5G commercial network in Chile to bring next-generation connectivity to enterprises and end-users.”

In February, Chile completed what it claimed to be the first tender to assign 5G spectrum in Latin America.

The country’s telecoms watchdog Subtel said that the government raised $453 million in four rounds (700 MHz, AWS, 3.5 GHz and 26 GHz), which is 512% more than what was collected in all previous spectrum tenders combined.

Subtel also confirmed that a total of 1.8 gigahertz was awarded for mobile broadband.

Mobile operators Movistar, Entel and WOM secured 50 megahertz of 3.5 GHz spectrum each, disbursing 117 billion pesos (currently $167 million), 100 billion pesos and 32 billion pesos respectively.

WOM won a 20 megahertz block in the 700 MHz band, 30 megahertz in the AWS band, and 50 megahertz in the 3.5 GHz band, paying around $150 million.

Claro and Entel also secured additional spectrum in the 26 GHz band.

The Chilean government expects the future development of 5G networks will lead to additional investments of $5 billion over five years.

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