Panama bets on satellite to bridge the digital divide

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By LatAm Reports Editorial Team

Mobile terrestrial operators will be able to provide their service through satellite stations and users will be able to receive and send calls from any point.

Through Resolution AN No. 19022-Telco of 22 February 2024, the National Public Services Authority (ASEP) established new provisions for the use of radio spectrum for satellite telecommunications services, which, in addition to promoting the revolution in the telecommunications industry, also seeks to reduce the digital divide in the country.

This document contains annotations made by Starlink Internet Services Panamá S.R.L., AST Spacemobile, GLobalstar Panamá Corp. .Digicel Panama, S.A., Cable & Wirless Panama, S.A., and the Digital Communications Group, S.A., who participated in this consultation.

The resolution includes the economic consideration for its use, with the primary objective of promoting the entry of new actors, and thus accelerating the closure of the digital divide, at a lower cost in distant rural areas that have not been addressed.

The team of experts from the ASEP National Telecommunications Directorate has established regulations that seek to incorporate new provisions on spectrum sharing by mobile cellular operators, which will contribute to the improvement of coverage in these areas to expand networks.

“With this step, Panama becomes a pioneering country by implementing actions that go hand in hand with technological advances, providing new opportunities that do not exist in the past and that are possible today, as is the case of the new satellite industry that has been showing the need to reevaluate alternatives due to the great modernization it is experiencing today,” ASEP added.

Once the new rules are put in place, terrestrial mobile operators will be able to provide their service through satellite stations, while users will be able to receive and send calls or messages from any point of the national geography.

ASEP, as an entity focused on promoting the development of the telecommunications industry, firmly believes in regulation that facilitates organic growth that allows the entry of new technologies that improve services for all users.

Study by the consulting firm Telecom Advisory Services revealed that an increase in digitization in Latin America would have a positive impact on GDP, productivity, the generation of new jobs, social and financial inclusion, projecting that a 10 % increase in mobile broadband penetration would generate a GDP per capita growth of 1.7%, and that, likewise, a 10 per cent increase in fixed-band penetration (WWA), increased 1.5 per cent per capita GDP.

This article has been translated from the original which first appeared in Pan America