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By Fabian Cambero
SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said on Monday that the South American nation will kick off a 5G spectrum tender, which he called a key initial step to boosting the country's competitiveness in telecommunications.
Pinera, who explained the bidding guidelines in a televised presentation on Monday, said companies would first be evaluated on their ability to deliver, and then on the technical and financial components of their proposals.
Fifth-generation technology networks are expected to power everything from high-speed video transmissions to self-driving cars.
"In Chile we are behind, we are not advancing with the speed necessary," Pinera said. "Today we want to take a great leap forward and incorporate Chile... into the world of 5G technologies."
Chile, one of Latin America's most advanced economies, is also seeking to spearhead the construction of a fiber optic cable to join Asia and South America.
Together, the technologies would see 5G reach 90% of Chile's population, Pinera said.
(Reporting by Fabian Cambero, writing by Dave Sherwood, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)