Central America Registers Little Progress in 5G

Countries in the Region Report Little Activity in 5G Testing and Trials, with some Exceptions in Costa Rica and Mexico.

As of the first quarter of 2022, 5G networks have not yet been deployed in Central American countries and only in Mexico, in February of that year, was the start of operations of a commercially available 5G mobile network recorded.

A survey by 5G Americas based on information from regulators, network operators and Telegeography reveals that in Mexico there is a second operator that in December 2021 began activating its 5G network, but with coverage limited to some areas of Mexico City and for testing purposes. In Central America these networks have not been deployed, although regulators already consider new spectrum suitable for the development of 5G.

In the case of Mexico, the AWS, 2.5 GHz and 3.5 GHz bands provide spectrum for 5G networks and testing. In Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama there has been progress in planning more spectrum for mobile services, but no new calls for bids have been issued in these last four countries.

In Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Panama, depending on the country, “low” (600 MHz and 700 MHz), “medium” (1427 – 1518 MHz, 2.3 GHz and 3.5 GHz) and “high” (26 GHz, 28 GHz, 40 GHz and 66 – 71 GHz) bands are considered as capacity to boost mobile telecommunications networks within the next decade. Mexico plans to conduct between 2022 and 2023 a new spectrum auction that will offer frequencies suitable for 5G in the 600 MHz, 1427 – 1518 MHz and 3.5 GHz bands.

Networks in 5G will require using different types of frequency bands to meet the service parameters of different use cases for human, industrial and general Internet of Things (IoT) connections.