Ecuador’s two incumbent fixed line operators Andinatel and Pacifictel have announced plans to begin an auction process this week to find a foreign partner for their startup mobile joint venture Telecsa. The two telcos signed Telesca’s contract on 2 April this year and hope to launch the cellco in early December in the cities of Quito, Guayaquil, Cuenca, Santo Domingo and Machala. They have pledged to invest USD120 million into the venture this year, increasing to USD400 million in the next few years. Andinatel and Pacifictel have said that they will make bidding rules available within the next 15 days and interested parties will then be given six weeks to submit offers. Alcatel, Siemens, Motorola and Sprint have already expressed an interest in bidding, whilst the country’s third fixed line telco, Cuenca-based ETAPA, will be offered a 3-5% stake in Telecsa. When it enters the market, Telecsa will be competing with Conecel, which currently holds around 62% of the market, and BellSouth Ecuador which has a 38% market share.