Venezuelan telco CANTV has announced plans to invest more than USD1 billion in 2005, with the bulk of the spend going towards the expansion of its mobile services. According to BNamericas, the company will invest USD200 million in its cellular arm Movilnet and a further USD450 million on the acquisition of rival cellco Digitel. The Digitel deal is currently awaiting regulatory clearance. Movilnet’s nationwide networks are currently being upgraded with CDMA2000 1x technology. The operator has around 2.7 million subscribers and with Digitel on board this will increase to 3.9 million in a total cellular market of around 7.6 million customers.
CANTV will also invest USD200 million in the expansion of its fixed line and data networks to improve coverage in suburban and rural areas, and another USD100 million will be used to deploy broadband fixed wireless technology based on EV-DO technology. The first services are due to be introduced in Caracas this month, while coverage will be extended to other cities next year.