El Salvador is preparing for the arrival of 5G

In December 2019, the General Superintendence of Electricity and Telecommunications (Siget), at the instruction of President Nayib Bukele, launched the historic public auction for the granting of 120 megahertz (MHz) of radio spectrum in the band known as AWS, which allowed El Salvador to be 20 times faster and position itself among the countries with the best Internet speed in the region.

That year, Siget granted a concession for the 1.7 and 2.1 gigahertz (GsHz) band of the radio spectrum, -which had not been released for more than 20 years-, so that teleoperators had the opportunity to improve services to salvadorans.

Since that date, different state institutions and companies have begun to develop different strategies to increase Internet speed in the country, according to Siget’s superintendent, Manuel Aguilar. These actions have currently allowed El Salvador to position itself among the fastest in the region.

«Now that the operators have been rolling out their networks, they have been able to upgrade them to the level we have now. Downloads are similar to those in the United States. Obviously, in the United States, they already have 5G and other technologies that we are going to implement soon in El Salvador» — said the head of the regulatory entity.

Aguilar announced that the government, together with the operators, is already in talks to explore this type of technology. «We are already in these talks with the operators, so there will be a new investment to have higher speeds and benefits» — said the official.

Likewise, he added that the investments made and the implementation of new technologies will allow more tourists to come to the country.

«Now we have many tourists who are coming to visit the beaches. With the issue of bitcoin, and what they ask for is that there be fast Internet speed, since many who come to work on the beaches or want to come to set up their businesses, the country will attract more foreigners» — he asserted.

He added that the government’s idea is to improve the quality of services and have higher speeds. «That’s what we’re [working on]. The change in speed that has occurred in the government of President Bukele is great. With the new systems that are being implemented, we are going to make a big leap towards regulation », he commented.

In this context, a report by Ookla indicates that the mobile browsing speed of the Salvadoran market has established itself as the fastest on the Isthmus after unseating Guatemala from first place.

According to the Speedtest Global Index, the average data download speed on mobile internet in the country increased 27 places between January and November 2021.

On the other hand, the Secretariat for Innovation of the Presidency launched the National Digital Agenda 2020-2030 two years ago, in which the route to achieving a true digital transformation is established. In this sense, with the National Connectivity Plan, the State will accompany the different actions to promote the deployment of 4G and 5G mobile telephony technologies in the national territory.

In that said plan, it is expected that there will be an investment of around $150 million for the LTE and 5G networks.

«The program will contribute to increasing the levels of connectivity in the country, benefiting educational institutions and health centers that will be connected to the Internet, as well as the population that will be able to improve their digital skills» — the document indicates.