“What would happen if a team loses the match, but then gets the result reversed by the referee? That is precisely what SUBTEL’s provisional authorization granted to Claro Chile to use spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band for 5G represented,” explains our managing partner, Rodrigo Albagli.
In soccer, the referee is in charge of presiding over the game and enforcing the rules in a neutral manner, ensuring justice on the field of play. Thus, in case of doubts about a decision, he has a counterweight mechanism to assist him in making a correct decision: the VAR. Despite its criticisms, its objective is none other than to avoid human errors that could affect the final result.
In telecommunications, the role of arbitrator corresponds to SUBTEL in its capacity as assigner of the radio-electric spectrum, an essential input to provide this type of services. This concession is developed strictly through public tenders that guarantee ex ante competition among those seeking to exploit this resource. In other words, the public tender is the soccer match and the assigned spectrum portions are the final score.
Now, if the referee validates a violation of the rules in favor of one of the teams, VAR operates as a counterweight to the erroneous decision that the referee may have adopted. In the area of acts of authority that compromise competition, the TDLC and the Supreme Court are the bodies called upon to correct such errors, operating as a true VAR against the referee’s mistakes.
What would happen if a team loses the match, but then gets the result reversed by the referee and declared favorable to the detriment of the rest of the competitors and as if the VAR did not exist? Quite simply, confidence in the sport and in the competition is lost.
Well, that is precisely what SUBTEL’s provisional authorization granted to Claro Chile to use spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band for 5G, operated through the ClaroVTR Joint Venture, represented. By this means, SUBTEL allowed an incumbent, which bid and lost, to be unjustifiably favored in the commercialization of 5G mobile services, as it did not have equivalent charges to the rest of the 5G concessions that were granted through public bidding.
In practice, the provisional authorization allowed ClaroVTR to initiate works for the construction of 630 antennas without bearing the requirements established in the 5G tender, obliging it to comply with the conditions under which it lost the tender in order to give the appearance of justice. All of the above, ignoring a process that was pending before the Supreme Court that sought to resolve this matter.
However, with the decision adopted the day before yesterday by the highest court, we see that, finally, fair play is being maintained and the counterweights are working to correct this insurmountable error of the arbitrator. While its analysis continues and with a view to an imminent resolution, its five members welcomed the purpose of maintaining fair play by ensuring vigorous competition, with fair, clear and transparent rules and conditions for all.
In this 5G match, it is essential that ClaroVTR does not bypass the VAR, and that SUBTEL respects the rules.